Entrepreneurs are more likely to be affected by burnout than any other type of business owner. These 5 tips will help you to prevent burnout and save your business in the process.
As an entrepreneur myself, I speak from experience here. And boy, what an experience did I have. I was so good at ignoring the signs of my own burnout that I literally became paralyzed from the neck down.
The burnout was so destructive that doctors told me there was nothing I could do to heal. Needless to say, perhaps my greatest achievement in life was not listening to the doctors and finding my own solutions.
These 5 tips are just some of the ways I learned to heal my own body and save my business from ruin.
Tip 1 – Get clear on your vision
Sometimes the simplest of things makes the biggest difference in business. No matter how large or small your business is. Whether you are just thinking about starting a business or even been trading for years. The vision is always needed to ensure a healthy operating model. By vision, I mean, what’s your why? What is the reason why you started this business? Is it to leave a legacy? Is it to help others live better? Is it to create financial freedom for your kids? Whatever it is that drives you to make this business work write it down and review it daily!
When you are clear on why you’re doing this suddenly your to-do list makes sense. This is also incredibly useful exercise especially if you’re one of those entrepreneurs who can’t just stick to one business! If you suffer with shiny object syndrome – I.e constantly changing your mind, starting one business then being distracted by another business model and never committing to one. That shiny object syndrome will lead to burnout and financial ruin quicker than a gambling addict on the Vegas strip.
Let go of the idea that long working hours are a sign of a great entrepreneur and let them go. Ultimately, the success of an entrepreneur is not the number of hours you invest, but what you do with those hours.
Tip 2 – Manage your mindset
Your mind is the control centre of your life. Learning to manage how you operate, and dealing with issues where your mind just doesn’t want to play ball are essential to success in well everything in life. If you know me, you know I am all about the power of the mind to completely transform your life. It was only when I incorporated meditation and mindfulness into my daily routine that I truly began to see success in not just my own health transformation but in all aspects of my life.
Dedicating just 5 minutes a day for meditation will help you gain some calm in the chaos. It will help you to manage stress, and with time it will also help you become more creative and help you adapt better. All win-win’s in the world of entrepreneurship.
If you are feeling overwhelmed by your business, I urge you to take a step back and balance it out by implementing a meditation practice today, it truly was one of the biggest game changers for me. That’s why I now teach meditation world wide alongside my consulting business.
Tip 3 – Know your limits
But know this, as a human being you are only good at so many things. Yes, I know that’s hard to digest, you’re not perfect. You have your strengths and you have your weaknesses. Mapping these out and getting clear on what you are good at and not so good at, or even things that don’t necessarily need to be done by you will make a huge impact on your business. Hire a virtual assistant wherever possible to manage your admin tasks and spend your time doing the things that make you money.
As entrepreneurs we can easily get stuck in a vicious circle working so hard we forget we are not alone. We can become so used to doing all the tasks in our business ourselves that we may sometimes feel shame in having to ask for help. But there isn’t shame in asking. It’s wise to ask for help. In fact it’s one of my first recommendations to anyone starting a business. If you want your business to grow the sooner you get someone in replace you the better, why? Because it lets you move up the ladder to more strategy or even advisor role where you may get to the point where you can sell your business if that’s your goal.
Spreading that workload will be stressful in the beginning when you onboard someone but it will rapidly become a god send and you’ll wonder how you managed without support in the past.
Tip 4 – Respect your boundaries
Setting healthy boundaries is possibly the most difficult aspect of being an entrepreneur. There is a tendency, again with the ‘hustle’ culture that we need to be working all hours. But this is a surefire way to burnout. Longer, harder work does not necessarily equal more money or success.
You must learn to strike a true work-life balance or be prepared to either lose your friends, your partner, your health or your business or perhaps a combination of the above. Think of your business as a marathon and not a sprint. Take time each day to attend to your other needs, whether that’s exercising, enjoying lunch with a friend, dancing, painting, going to a museum, bingeing a Netflix series. Whatever it may be, do it daily!
Set the time in your diary like a meeting. For example at 5pm I shut my laptop down, no matter what. Clear my desk for the next day and I’m done. No, oh I’ll just do xyz or maybe I’ll just finish this. I respect the boundary I have set myself. And I stick to it. That clear line between work and private life is one it took me years to learn but boy did it pay off. I have worked with clients all over the world and I used to let them text me all hours of the day and night. This caused no end of stress, and if I didn’t respond because perhaps they messaged when I was asleep, I would feel like a failure. Now I have set times in my contact schedule so it’s not just me but also my customers who know when I am available. Just a little clear communication and everyone’s happy and stress free!
Tip 5 – Stop the comparison
Social media, what an absolute blessing and a curse! A blessing because today you can instantly connect with your customers and prospects around the world. And a curse because it can be the worst time suck, and a nightmare for our own mental health.
The whole hustle culture will lead you to believe that successful entrepreneurs rise at 5 am or earlier, run 10 miles, drink zero caffeine all day and create an empire from their laptop on a sandy beach somewhere and still have time to meditate for 4 hours, practice their yoga and dine out on lobster. Let’s be clear, most of those posts if not all are complete lies! Yes you can operate your business from a laptop, I do that with my own business. But to pretend that you are super human is lying not just to yourself but everyone around you. We’re human. Sometimes we need days off, a glass of wine and to curl up under the duvet.
So I urge you, whenever you see those perfect posts from entrepreneurs claiming to have all their stuff together the chances are they are lying through their teeth.
I love the quote ‘Stop comparing your behind the scenes to everyone else’s showreel’. It’s worth remembering that what most people are doing on social media is showing you their public face you don’t see the hell going on behind the scenes.
So don’t beat yourself up for not meeting some fake idea of perfection. Perfection simply doesn’t exist even for entrepreneurs.
Your goal as an entrepreneur is to have the courage to free yourself from the shackles of fear and risk. Taking risks is part of building a business but you need to do so with a level of self-care and compassion.
Ensure you create and stick to a daily routine, where you’re clear on the your daily vision, you know what the plan is for the day, you stick to it. You also have fun that day. You take time to manage your mind, delegate some admin tasks and switch off the computer when the work day is done.
These essential tips can make all the difference in helping you win the marathon of running a successful business.
When I started to meditate it took me a while to figure out which form of meditation works best for me. But what’s really important when starting meditation for the first time is to try and find a meditation practice that feels comfortable and is doable for you.
The easiest type of meditation to follow is a guided meditation. That literally means when a teacher talks you through the process and you simply listen to the sound of their voice as they ‘guide‘ you through the practice. There are many different types of guided practices available as a starter for 10.
One of my favorites is a lovely ‘Breathing‘ meditation I have that simply focuses on breathing in and out in a relaxed state. But the possibilities are endless.
Perhaps the most important thing to do is ensure you are in a comfortable place. Ideally in a space where you will not be disturbed during your practice.
New meditators will often fidget whilst trying to sit still and spend so much time in their heads that the slightest distraction can throw them off course. So a nice quiet place, certainly in the beginning is absolutely crucial.
Next you need to sit or lie down to practice. Let’s not beat around the bush here, if you’ve never meditated before the first time is going to be tricky.
You will probably ask yourself whether you’re doing it right, what you should be feeling, whether you are meditating or just sitting still. Whatever goes through your mind, just allow it to pass.
Witness the thoughts like clouds drifting across the sky. Just let them go and don’t beat yourself up about how well you are doing. Trust me this gets so much easier in time.
The purpose of meditation is not to punish oneself for not being perfect!
Rather, it is about training us to become aware of the sensations that permeate us, such as the sound of breathing, our heartbeat and the movements of our body.
Learning to meditate requires repetition and patience, not only for beginners but for all of us. But in all honesty it simply takes practice, practice, more practice – and a lot of practice. I joke it’s called ‘a practice’ for a reason. Because that’s what we have to do each day. But the benefits are phenomenal.
Meditation touches a large part of our thinking and is generally something we do regularly, with time allocated to this practice ideally daily. You can read more about the benefits of meditation to improve sleep and reduce stress in my meditation guide here.
Think of it as a form of training and learn to focus your attention back on the present, which helps you develop a stronger sense of concentration, calm and awareness in your everyday life.
An alternative meditation which is another simple practice is a focus meditation.
Simply start by sitting still, sitting with your eyes fixed on the point of your eyebrows, and let your thoughts and sensations rise and fall while you sit still and feel them. You can do this for just a moment or longer it’s entirely up to you.
When you start meditating, start with a few minutes and then ideally build up to about 10 minutes a day.
Meditation is a great way to feel calm and happy and to improve the overall health of the brain and reduce the risk of depression and anxiety.
Meditation is so powerful. It has truly been a life changer for me. It’s helped me deal with stress, anxiety, depression and burnout. It’s why I now teach meditation worldwide and have over 50,000 downloads! If you’re a beginner to meditation, I would suggest grabbing my ‘Just Breath’ meditation which guides you fully through the practice. You need nothing fancy, no white clothes, mountain tops or candles. Just you, your mobile device and a comfy seat.
I look forward to connecting with you in your practice.
Truly knowing the difference between burnout and depression is the first step towards finding the right solution for whatever hole you may be in right now.
Whilst the extreme end of burnout can be associated with physical and mental disorders, which can often be very difficult to recover from. The real priority is to treat burnout as something that can accompany a mental health condition. That said burnout is not necessarily a mental illness such as anxiety and depression.
In fact, experts believe that illnesses such as depression and anxiety are what actually lead to burnout, and that it is important to address your symptoms sooner rather than later. For business owners who are overworked and emotionally exhausted, their symptoms can jeopardize their work if they over compensate and work through mental illness, and manifest in the form of something such as depression.
So if burnout and depression can look clinically the same, why is depression so often in a category of it’s own? How can we know if we are suffering directly from depression or becoming depressed. And how can we tell if we are actually suffering from burnout?
If the difference between stress and burnout is the degree to which you show symptoms, then it is important to understand how you can distinguish between stress signs and burnout signs.
Treatment of burnout and depression can overlap, but the big difference is that burnout, unlike depression, is not usually treated with medication. You want to be careful not to confuse burn-out with depression or depression with burnout because the remedies are different. If depression is ruled out as a diagnosis, treatment depends on whether one believes they are suffering from burnout or not.
So one solution is to visit your GP and ask them to test to see if you are suffering with depression. If the diagnosis is no, then the chances are that it is burnout. If it’s burnout, this is not something that can be healed with antidepressants.
Some of the best things that can help with burnout are things that can be difficult to implement. For example, you need as much sleep and rest as possible. Eating a healthy diet, drinking plenty of water and managing the mindset as much as possible.
Clinical psychologist Gulcin Senyuva says that while depression is usually unrelated to work, business or life it can result from experiencing life events or trauma of any kind, it is not just the nature of work that causes burnout.
What many of us do when we get burn-out is do more work because one of the causes of burnout is congestion. Even with burnout, you can categorize the symptoms of depression, as it is a combination of many different symptoms such as fatigue, anxiety, irritability, depression and anxiety.
Burnout, depression and anxiety are considered separate from people, but Schönfeld believes it might be more useful to see them as a continuum.
Some may think that burnout is a mental condition, which is mostly caused by mental illness, while the others are mostly physical ailments. But symptoms of depression and exhaustion are not necessarily interchangeable, says Dr. Schönfeld.
While some people cope with both burnout and the health symptoms associated with chronic stress, according to Schönfeld, it is important to recognize burnout for what it is, and not as a kind of “depression” that occurs in response to a terrible work situation.
It is also important to remember that if someone experiences both burnout and depression then it’s likely to impact other areas of their lives as a result.
In short, Burnout and Depression are not the same thing. They both have very similar symptoms and both can be difficult to diagnose. But the important thing to remember is to seek medical advice. Regardless of whether it’s burnout or depression you are suffering from, it’s important to address the situation at the earliest possible time.
Both depression and burnout if left untended to can cause all sorts of issues both mentally and physically. My own burnout led to me becoming paralyzed from the neck down. Because I refused to pay attention to the warning signs.
Don’t delay, if you’re feeling the symptoms of confusion, stress, sleeplessness and fatigue on a consistent basis. Seek help from a professional.
Take a look at my meditations which can help you with burnout. www.aysedurmush.com/shop