No matter what stage your business is at, if you don’t take care of yourself, there’s a risk of burning out. Working long hours, making important decisions and overthinking, can not only make you feel tired but also make a negative impact on your health.
But how do you know when it’s simple tiredness and when it’s time to start worrying?
When you’re tired, having a good night sleep can be enough to recharge and come back to work full of new ideas. When you’re exhausted, you feel like you could sleep for a week straight.
Feeling constantly tired and not being able to concentrate isn’t good neither for you nor your business and it’s one of the main signs you’re burned out and need a break.
When you’re burned out, you don’t perform well
You work and work and work. Then you look at what you’ve done and nothing seems to be good enough. But you’re not a quitter. You start again and spend hours on the same tasks. But you can’t think well and, again, nothing goes right. You start blaming yourself, doubting your skills and ability to run a business. Then you punish yourself by not letting yourself have a break until everything is perfect. And then… it happens all over again.
Being stuck in a loop is a definite sign of burning out. Remember, a hamster can only escape a running wheel by stopping to rest.
You’re always at work
Imagine this – you work all day, come back home and realise you forgot something. No, it’s not your keys, phone or a dirty lunch box. It’s your brain! It’s still working.
We know you’ve heard this thousands of times but you shouldn’t work (or think about work) during your time off. This time is for you. You can spend however you like it with one rule – nothing work-related.
If you think about your business even when you spend time with your loved ones or when you try to sleep, you can’t get proper rest which leads to feeling even more exhausted. So if you notice that non-ending thoughts prevent you from enjoying your life, it’s time to make a change.
You have health issues
Running a business isn’t always fun and easy. No matter how hard you try, you can’t avoid the challenges and stress that comes with it. Experiencing some stress can be beneficial as it keeps you on your toes and motivates you to do more. However, when you’re burned out, your stress levels stay high longer than they should. Not being able to get things right, overthinking every decision you make and not getting enough rest, puts your body into constant “fight or flight” mode.
This can have a negative effect on your health causing things like depression, a weaker immune system, headaches, heart problems and many others.
If you notice any unusual symptoms, get checked with your doctor. While it might be some type of illness, it’s also very likely that your body is under too much stress.
You treat people poorly
Have you noticed people are avoiding you or are scared of being anywhere near you? Look back and think about how you’ve been treating them. When you’re burned out, you get irritated by the smallest things. Ignoring, shouting when something goes wrong or disregarding other peoples’ needs doesn’t make you appear friendly and approachable.
What to do if you’re burned out?
The damage has been done. But it doesn’t mean that you can’t get better and start taking care of yourself.
Rest, rest, rest
The best way of recovering from burning out is simply resting. If you’re exhausted, can’t think well and feel low in general, having a regular weekend off might not be enough. Take a week off and book a holiday (it doesn’t have to be far!). Staying in a different environment will help you forget about work. Spend some time rethinking your priorities. Your own health and wellbeing should be on the top of that list.
Avoid getting burned out by creating healthy habits
Changes don’t happen overnight. Start small and try to create healthy habits that wouldn’t let you burn out again in the future. Spend ten minutes every morning creating a to-do list for a day? Organise your workload better? Join yoga classes to relax after work? Spend every Sunday with your phone turned off? Having a well-planned schedule will reduce stress as you’ll know what you need to do and when it’s time to switch off.
Ask for help
We know you want to think of yourself as a strong and successful individual. Asking for help can make you feel vulnerable. But remember, only strong people can accept the fact that they’re struggling and ask for help.
If you have too much work but can’t afford to hire someone at the moment, you can ask people you know for help with some simple things. If you’re struggling with your mental health, try to talk with someone close to you or have a look into therapy. Yes, talking about your problems with a stranger can be hard but look at the bright side – no one will ever know what you’ve told them!