Business, Entrepreneurship, Strategy
November 12, 2020
5 Ways to Spot Entrepreneurial Burnout (and what to do next)
5 Ways to Spot Entrepreneurial Burnout (and what to do next)

By Candace Huntly

Entrepreneurial burnout is a very real issue. It doesn’t happen overnight. It is usually a slow burn brought on by prolonged stress where your behaviours, energy, and mindset shifts.

Before entrepreneurial burnout can affect your business negatively, it’s best to identify some of the ways you will be affected personally. Here are five things to look out for.

You resent having to get up and go to work

Sometimes you just don’t feel like working – there is a reason why mental health days have become a more prominent part of our discussions. However, there is a difference between waking up every-so-often and feeling like you just need a day to having that feeling more often than not. If you are on your way to entrepreneurial burnout, you likely feel that way almost every day.

You have lost the creative spark to get things done

Starting a business takes a creative spark. You need to build your idea and build your business one day at a time. Entrepreneurs facing burnout often feel like that passion that they once had for what they do is gone. That little spark of joy and creativity that drove you to start your business has dulled and you can’t seem to come up with creative solutions and ideas as easy as you did before.

You just aren’t getting the same kind of results you used to get

Whether it’s something you feel or actually that your output has decreased, entrepreneurial burnout is often coupled with feeling like you are stuck in a rut. Burnout can lead to feelings of failure (even if it isn’t true!). When you just don’t feel like you are good at what you do it can also lead to procrastination.

Constant brain fog

The life of an entrepreneur is full of various responsibilities. It can be hard to keep track of things and you might find that you need to write everything down to stay on top of things. That is COMPLETELY normal. What you should look out for is a constant brain fog where you can’t remember little details or processes that are usually second nature. If you constantly feel like your head is in the clouds and you can’t seem to form a clear thought, you might be dealing with burnout.

You can’t stop snapping… at everyone

Entrepreneurial burnout doesn’t discriminate. It will affect both your business and your personal life. If you find that you are irritable and you are flying off the handle at the smallest things, this is likely a sign of burnout – not that everything is falling apart around you.

How do you deal with entrepreneurial burnout?

A little bit of stress is OK. The Reality is that running a business can be stressful, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it and keep your stress in check, letting it drive you rather than shut you down. Here are a few things you can do to stop entrepreneurial burnout.

  • Take a break: This might seem like an obvious remedy, but sometimes it is easier said than done. Even if you only have time to take a half day, taking care of your mental health is only going to help you – and your business – in the long-term.
  • Manage your stress: Finding ways to curb issues before they become issues will help you manage your stress in the long-term. Try to find the things that are the source of your stress and change those.
  • Set time for self care: In order to make self care a habit, you may need to schedule time for it. Set your breaks during the day and even schedule time for a workout. Spending 20 – 30 minutes looking after yourself will go a long way.
  • Adjust your diet: You have likely heard “you are what you eat.” The food you consume will have a direct effect on your productivity and how you feel. If you eat a lot of processed foods, refined sugars, and caffeine (you may want to rethink that coffee IV), it will make you feel sluggish.
  • Try to separate yourself from your business: As entrepreneurs, we often feel like we are personally tied to what we do and that our self-worth is tied to the success of our business. If you are having a rough period at work that will automatically make you feel like it is a personal loss.
  • Balance time at work and time outside of work: You don’t need to work 20 hours a day to have a successful business
  • Change your mindset about what you do: Remind yourself why you became an entrepreneur in the first place to try to get back into the joy of starting your business.
  • Set boundaries: This is a really hard one. You don’t need to be available 24 hours a day. And you don’t need to do things that you don’t want to do. As entrepreneurs we need to learn how to say no and set those boundaries on our time otherwise there will be nothing left to give!

Don’t be afraid to rely on friends, family, and your entrepreneur community if you are going through a rough patch. As entrepreneurs we often look at ourselves as an island, when really, everything works better when we are surrounded by a support system.

Have you ever experienced entrepreneurial burnout?

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