Whether you are a creative entrepreneur or a side hustler, you are probably very much aware of the dreaded burnout.
As entrepreneurs we are ambitious, we love taking action and are determined for our dreams to come to fruition. That is what makes us entrepreneurs. However I fell like we have all got a bit lost in the ‘hustle’ side of our business.
You have always been told that you have to work hard to be successful, or success comes from blood, sweat and tears, or we have to struggle in order to achieve.
So naturally, when you work on your business and everything becomes your responsibility. That ambitious or perfectionistic side of you comes out and the next thing you know, you’re hustling.
When I first started my entrepreneurial journey, I was working a full time job and would spend most evenings (11pm – midnight) and most weekends (6-8 hours straight) working on building my business. This is the hustle mindset I’m talking about. I was so focused and determined to have the foundations of my business set up so that I could quit my job and start living my best life as soon as physically possible, that I started spending less time with the people I loved, less time having fun and relaxing and I abandoned self care which resulted in burnout.
I see you, working late hours into the night to try and tick off everything on your to-do-list because you won’t be able to sleep if those tasks aren’t complete.
I see you, having restless nights because you are feeling overwhelmed by all of your duties and can’t turn your mind off.
I see you, not taking time off for a lunch break because now you are your own boss you don’t have to comply with the governments regulation of work breaks.
I see you, feeling overwhelmed with guilt every time you take a moment to yourself or some time off.
I see you, unable to fully enjoy spending time with your loved ones because your mind is so busy focusing on your business.
I see you, obsessively checking your emails or social media accounts on your day off.
You’ve been feeling drained, exhausted and frazzled for weeks, maybe even months. All of your loved ones are starting to worry about you. It has become harder for you to think clearly and the weight of all of your tasks are holding you down. You have noticed that you are spending more time alone and frantically typing on your computer. Let’s not even mention that you haven’t spoken to someone in a while, or if you work from home, haven’t left the house in weeks!
I get it, burnout comes with entrepreneurship. But what if I told you that it doesn’t have to be like that? What if there is an easier way to help your business thrive without damaging your health?
Well friend, there is!
Here are five actionable steps to help you overcome your mental burnout.
Step One: Listen to your body
One of the most wonderful things about our working bodies is that it is always telling us what it needs. If you are hungry, you need food. If you are tired, you need sleep. If you are burnt out you need to stop.
By staying in tune with what your body needs, you can then start to help nurture it back into a state of wellbeing.
How many times have you been trying to work on a creative project and start to feel frustrated when it isn’t turning out the way you envisioned? Maybe you’re starting to wonder if you have any creativity left?
Or how many times have you been trying to write some content whether that be for your blog or social media and have been sat in the same spot staring at the same blank page for an hour and the words just aren’t flowing?
Girl, these are signs that your body is starting to get tired and a burnout is on the horizon!
You aren’t a superhero. You are not expected to work 24/7, especially if you’re working on something creative. I know that you will work a lot better, have more energy, more focus and increase productivity when you start to slow down and let your body rest. (And that means your mind too!)
Once you start feeling like you are on your way towards a burnout, stop yourself and take a few minutes to be present and relax your mind. Meditation is a great way to do this! Or simply putting some headphones on and concentrate on the music for a little while.
I promise that by doing this you will be a lot more productive when you return to your project and you will come back with a fresh mind.
Step Two: Turn off your phone notifications
Notifications are sometimes helpful but not when you are trying to stop working due to burnout. By simply giving yourself permission to turn off your email or social media notifications this will not only prevent distractions when you are being productive but also keep you focused and less overwhelmed.
I know what it is like feeling a little run down and tired but determined to finish a project only to have my phone buzzing every two seconds and feeling like I have to reply to the five emails, jot down some mental notes, analyse my new Instagram post engagement, remember to check up on a payment and a whole list of other things. It’s seriously not pretty!
But by focusing on one task or project at a time can really help you feel in control and on top of your workload, thus less time to freak out and burn out.
Also, having your notifications switched off can be a total god send when you are trying to enjoy some family time at the weekend and don’t want constant reminders of all the business tasks you need to do and ‘should’ be doing.
Step Three: Enjoy time off!
Seriously, when was the last time you actually relaxed, had fun and enjoyed your time away from your office?
If you can’t remember, then drop everything you’re doing right now and hit the beach! (unless you live in the UK like I do, then go find something fun to do!)
One of the biggest entrepreneurial struggles is actually giving ourselves permission to step away from our work and have fun! I know your business is important, but isn’t your life as well?
Life is all about balance and joy. The more you spend overworking, the more likely it is that you will start to dislike and even resent your work/business. Keep the balance of work and play and live your life joyously.
Right now, write down five things that spark joy and excitement and set a time in your calendar to do those this week/month.
Whether that be a pamper evening at home, binge watching your favourite tv series on Netflix, going for a walk with your family or spending time to sit down and read those books that have been on your TBR list for ever.
And whilst you do these things, don’t feel guilty! This is helping your business, whether you know it or not!
Step Four: Evaluate your situation & journal
Once you have taken some time away from your work, try journalling out your feelings. Write down what you feel overwhelmed by, your to-do-list, your plans and goals, your project deadlines… literally everything that is chaotically running around in your mind and prioritise.
Write down how you feel about each topic and try and think of creative solutions to all of your tasks.
Keep doing this until you feel in control and excited to get back to work.
Step Five: Go on a little adventure!
One of the best things you can do when you feel completely run down is go on an adventure. Sound crazy?
By leaving your working environment, walking away from technology and contact with your business will help you gain perspective. Connect with nature, let your mind go somewhere else rather than freaking out about your business. This is literally the best distraction which by now, is what you need. Give your mind some time to process all of the previous steps and just have fun!
This will not only help your productivity and attitude towards your business but will also improve your relationships, health, wellbeing, and the list truly goes on! The happier you are, the better of life you will lead and at the end of the day. Isn’t that the whole reason why you decided to be your own boss and create a business in the first place?
So be brave and give yourself permission to take a break from working and spend more time doing other things that make you happy and spend it with your loved ones.
As soon as I took my business on full time, I promised to myself that I would work hard during the day, and any other times business called, but I would spend most evenings and weekends with the people I love, having fun, relaxing and taking time to recharge. Now, I am living the best of both worlds. I get to be creative and fulfil my purpose during the times when I work and I get to have fun and enjoy my time off.
Let me know if these steps have helped you overcome burnout and if it has impacted any other aspects of your life.
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