You might think that burnout is something that only happens to other people, busier people, more important people. But let me tell you that burnout is a very real problem, especially for solopreneurs.
Maybe burnout affects us ambitious entrepreneurial women because we have such a soul connection with our business and our success in our work lies solely on our shoulders.
I know I have done my fair share of 14+ hour days as a business owner over the years (especially during times like launching) even though one of the reasons for starting my own business was to have freedom and NOT be tied to my computer all day!
Focusing so much attention on your business is not actually a wise decision- not if you want to achieve a work/life balance that makes you and your family happy. Even if you’re single, making time for self-care and relaxation will improve your overall health and mental wellbeing and your ability to work on your business successfully.
So let’s look at some of the signs to look for that indicate you might be headed toward burnout. If you can relate to any of these, then it’s time to reassess things in your life right now, because burnout is difficult (and costly!) to recover from!
If your brain can’t shut down at the end of the day when you want to sleep because you’re consumed with work, your sleep patterns get disrupted, leaving you overtired, lacking energy, and possibly lacking the mental energy to make wise business decisions.
>> The solution?
Start practicing a delicious, gentle bedtime routine that starts at least an hour before you want to sleep. This time should involve zero screens, warm lighting, nothing that will stimulate you. It is wind-down time, perfect for journaling, doing a gratitude list, meditation, taking a bath, diffusing oils and enjoying some much needed “me” time.
Do you cringe at the length of your daily to-do list? Did these tasks once excite you but now they make you want to crawl under a rock? Procrastination leads to missed deadlines and opportunities to promote your business. It can also cause us extra anxiety when things aren’t getting done on time (or at all!).
>> The solution?
If you are the sort of person who normally sets and makes deadlines with ease and can focus easily, then you are probably are putting way too much on your plate. When your to-do list feels weighty, that’s because it IS- overloaded with way more than one person can handle. If you can relate, then it’s time to delegate, and only do what’s important. Limit your must-dos to the three most important (TMIs) things that have to be done each day.
The human body is only capable of handling so much stress on limited sleep. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “burning the candle at both ends”? That’s what happens when you work yourself to the bone and don’t give your body and brain enough time to recover before starting another high-stress day. At some point your body will want to give up, causing severe fatigue and could even lead to adrenal fatigue which can take a long time for the body and mind to recover from (trust me from first-hand experience).
>> The solution?
Follow steps 1 and 2 above, and keep stress to a minimum by eating well, moving your body gently every day and be really disciplined with having a regular bedtime, even on weekends. Make getting enough sleep a non-negotiable! This post includes some great tips for how to get better rest.
4. Changes in appetite
For some people, stress causes them to overeat; for others, stress reduces their appetites. Neither extreme is good for your body and could mean that you’re on the verge of burnout if something doesn’t change with your lifestyle
>> The solution?
For optimal health and mental clarity, take lunch breaks away from the desk. Try the pomodoro technique and do your work in short, focused bursts, being sure to step away from your computer regularly. I like to do a few minutes jumping on my rebounder (mini trampoline) when I am doing lots of computer time. It is also recommended to spend some tie outside in the sun each day- and combine that with grounding if you can. When you do eat, choose natural, healthy food choices (fresh fruit and veg are always great) instead of fast food items.
High stress causes anxiety, which can cause crippling fear or other physical symptoms. Keep in mind: there’s a big difference between the anxiety you feel when stepping out of your comfort zone (which leads to fear of the unknown) versus stress-induced anxiety that doesn’t seem to go away. Anxiety can feel like a feeling of dread, and as though you are standing om the edge of a cliff looking down. It can cause you to sleep badly (see #1 above) and prevent you from thinking clearly.
>> The solution?
Assess why you’re feeling anxious and whether this is a normal feeling for you to have. Long-term anxiety could require treatment from a medical practitioner if it’s not kept in check. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by things and that’s leading to the anxiety, try doing a “brain dump” where you write down everything that’s on your mind. This helps to release what’s winding your thoughts up and making you feel scattered and unfocused and can help you to more clearly prioritise what’s actually important rather than worrying unnecessarily.
Think about this: as a solopreneur, if you are not physically able to run your business, what happens to it? Chances are, you’d have to close your doors and any streams of income you currently have will disappear. Let’s avoid this happening! Take care of your whole body, mind, and spirit. Take quiet time to relax. Get outdoors and breathe in some fresh air. Unplug for a whole weekend and live in the moment with your family. Reconnect with old friends. Start a hobby. The choices are limitless.
Essentially, the best way to stop burnout is to practice regular self-care. Even (especially!) the busiest of entrepreneurs has time to take care of themselves- they have to if they want to keep going for the long term.
I know that this can be difficult to consider making time for you, and that’s why I have this guide for you to download and use right away.
I promise you don’t need to dedicate hours a day or make any pricey purchases to make self-care happen. Now’s the time to start taking care of yourself and stopping the burnout in its tracks before it becomes truly debilitating (physically, mentally and financially). Download your free copy of The Driven Woman’s Guide by entering your details below.
I can also work with you 1:1 in my Healthy You, Wealthy Business coaching package to help you to work through the aspects of your lifestyle that might be causing burnout and to make a plan for how to approach things better moving forward.