From loving your business but feeling overwhelmed to secretly hating what you’re doing and wanting to scrap everything and start over, business burnout can happen easily until you figure out your triggers and how to work through them.
Understanding these triggers and how they play out for you can help you to stay focused and keep moving your business in the direction you want to go.
Ignoring these triggers can mean hours and dollars lost to burnout.
So here are 5 ways to avoid business burnout – or recover from it if you’re already there:
Accept where you are in your life and business.
Entrepreneurs are some of the most motivated people I’ve come across.
You’re driven to prove yourself, to think outside the box, and push past your comfort zone. Plus you know that your bottom line – your income – is dependent solely on you. So it only makes sense that you work as hard as you can.
But you also have a life outside of your business.
You also have a body that needs rest, healthy food, and exercise.
You also have emotional and spiritual needs that can’t be met through work.
And when you’re so busy striving to achieve more more more, it can be easy to lose sight of what’s really important in both your life and your business.
So take a step back, take some deep breaths, and really look at what is going on.
Where are you not accepting yourself, your life, or the state of your business?
Where are you trying to ignore what is true in service to what you wish was true?
And if you were to fully accept yourself, your life, and your business, what might you do differently?
Spend some time meditating or journaling on these questions and see what comes up.
Detox from Information Overload.
Chances are, you spend a lot of time on the internet, listening to podcasts, reading educational books, and more. As an entrepreneur, you’re a lifelong learner.
But in this day and age, I can’t think of anybody – at least in our society – who doesn’t need an occasional detox from all of this information. When you’re saturating your brain with constant inputs, you stop learning and it just becomes noise.
Give yourself a mental reset day (like Sundays) when you step away from your screens and focus on being present in your life. If you can do this weekly, great. If you can find a small way to make it a part of your daily life, even better!
Make a self-sabotage list.
One of the reasons that burnout can be so cyclical (sometimes cropping back up just when you feel like everything is going great) is that the first trigger is often happiness and success.
Becoming happier and more successful than you’ve been before can bring up all sorts of subconscious beliefs about what you deserve, what you’re allowed, and why it’s not okay for life to be awesome.
When that happens, you respond with self-sabotage, and if you’re like most of us, you have a pretty predictable list of ways you sabotage yourself.
Common ones look like this: not getting enough rest, eating too much sugar, overscheduling yourself, skipping exercise to keep working on the computer, etc.
So try this: Make a list of all the ways you think you sabotage yourself or get in your own way. Then next to each item, write down a positive alternative you could do instead of the sabotaging behavior. Make the alternative something small and easy to do.
Creating your list doesn’t mean you’ll never sabotage yourself. But it does mean you’ll be more aware of what’s happening before, during, and after so that you can make more conscious choices and hopefully steer away from self-sabotage more quickly.
My guess is that your business is something you’re really passionate about. Passionate is good.
But sometimes passion gives way to obsession.
And maybe you have to be a little obsessed to go the route of entrepreneurship. But too obsessed leads to focusing all your attention on that one area of your life.
Too obsessed means not making time to fill up your cup with other things.
Too obsessed can mean pushing away the other people and things in your life that truly matter.
Have hobbies that have nothing to do with your work. Try something new you’ve always wanted to try. Let it be something you suck at. Let it be something you can try and quit if you realize it’s not your thing. Have fun with it. (And whatever you do, don’t try to turn it into a money maker.)
Be the best you – not a copy of someone else.
It’s really easy to look at your colleagues who are succeeding and try to follow in their footsteps.
But simply doing what somebody else is doing won’t necessarily work.
You have to take into account your own personality (for example, introvert vs. extrovert), your lifestyle, what your zone of genius is, and more.
Really, this all goes back to number one above. Accept yourself, your life, and your business. Get super clear on who you are, what you do best, and what you need in order to be your best. Then stop trying to do what everyone else is doing and focus on being the best you.
Kick shame to the curb.
Bonus #6! There’s something that happens when you get out of burnout, learn the tools you need, and then suddenly find yourself back there: shame.
Shame is that feeling that tells you there’s something wrong with you because you can’t figure this out.
But the thing about shame is that it doesn’t get you anywhere. It just blocks you. So, kick that shame to the curb (I know it’s not that easy…this is something I help my clients with) and focus on the five items above. Don’t worry about finding yourself here again. Everyone does.
Just go back to that self-sabotage list, notice what you did this time, and focus on positive actions to get yourself back to a more productive place.