Why did you start your own business? Freedom, or financial gain, maybe? At the root of it, though, a certain level of happiness and passion had to exist to motivate you to put in the level of work needed to create a business.
The problem is that being an entrepreneur can be demanding, and when you are the one running the show, it’s hard to step away, and very easy to burnout. The sooner you realize that you are in a bad place, and take steps to pull yourself out of it, the better.
Re-examine career goals and what brings you happiness
These things can change and it’s okay. That’s the whole point of the life journey—to grow and evolve. It’s just important to recognize that and be flexible enough to keep up with your own happiness. Many businesses have started out in one direction, only to make a complete 180, and in fact, that is necessary for success in today’s quickly changing markets. Run your course as long as it serves you, but make sure that you are able to respect endings, looking forward to what will come next.
Take a break
Something that we are terrible about doing in this country! I know that you are building your empire, but it s detrimental to your health (body and mind), as well as that of the people around you, for you to schedule “off” time. If you really cannot swing a vacation, schedule a mental health day for yourself at least once a month, when you can totally unplug and do something for yourself. You will be happier and better rested for it, and this will pour into your business life.
Hey, looking for ideas to fill that mental health day of yours? The world is much brighter after a massage…just sayin’. You don’t have to spend a ton of money in order to do something nice for yourself, either. Check Groupon and similar discount sites for deals on spa services, or even a new exercise class you have been interested in trying. Exercise is one of the best ways to blow off some of the steam that goes with running a business, and its good for you! Check your health insurance plan, too, because a lot of plans are starting to cover medical massage and other such services, or at least offer a discount.
Change you terms with current clients, if they no longer serve you, or seek new clients
Obviously, respect all contracts you might have in place, but if a client is no longer a good fit for you, once the contract is up, you have every right to do what works best for you, and if that means pursuing new people to work with, do it. You only live once, and so many hours are spent working that it’s more pleasant to work with clients who are a good, mutual fit. Perhaps you no longer want to work in social media. As soon as you are able, contractually, change your focus, and in the meantime, start working toward your switch so that the realization of that goal can keep you going. You do not want to burn bridges with clients, but at the end of the day, you have to somewhat like what you are doing. People can tell, and are drawn to the magic of a person working in his or her niche.
Are eating properly? Drinking enough water? Sleeping well and long enough? Nine times out of ten, when I start to veer into the burnout lane, I’m not taking good care of myself. Working long, late hours, living on coffee and takeout… no wonder my body and mind boycott! After your assessment, address anything that needs changing. Make sure you have healthy, quick-grab items in your fridge, for those nights you work late, don’t have time to cook, and are tempted to order takeout. Make a serious effort to get to bed at least an hour or two earlier for a week straight, and see how you feel after!
See Your Doctor
Simple blood work during a check-up revealed that I was severely anemic. This shows symptomatically as exhaustion—which I attributed to my busy schedule! The good news is that it is easily fixed, and once it was taken care of, my schedule wasn’t as chaotic as it had appeared to me while I wasn’t treating the problem. It’s, crazy what vitamin and mineral deficiencies can do to your body. Your car can’t run without fuel, so how do you expect your body to run if it doesn’t have everything it needs?
Be honest with your doctor about how you are feeling. Although they can’t do anything to heal the fact that you need to work long hours, they can help you determine what your body is lacking, so that you can at least tune it up and properly care for it in order to handle your demanding work schedule. If you have feelings of depression or anxiety, please be honest with you doctor about it! There is zero shame in asking for help. It is unfair to you to have to work so hard while dealing with that, alone.
If all of this doesn’t help, look into finding someone to talk to. It doesn’t have to be a professional if you don’t want it to be. Sometimes venting to a friend or family member is enough, but I like the unbiased nature of a counselor. They can see you and your situation without the lens of perception that you or your loved ones would, and they can offer amazing advice!
Don’t go right from work to bed
The transition from the alert, working mind, to the restful one is serious business and should be treated as such. Read, meditate, listen to soothing music, warm bath, etc. A good rule to go by is to use zero electronics half an hour before bed, and stop drinking caffeine early in the afternoon, so that you can wind down. I also put my phone on “do not disturb” and silence all notifications right before my half hour of “quiet time.” If I hear that “ding,” I know I am going to have to check my messages. There’s no way around it, because obsessive personality.
Create a peaceful little bubble for yourself, and remove the “dings” of life, as often as you can, and you will extinguish the flames of burnout before they rage out of control.