Even Stars Burn out
Burnout? You mean when a teenager is aggressively pulling out of the McDonald's parking lot for no apparent reason? No not that kind of burnout. We're talking about the kind of burn out that can have a lasting impact on your physical and mental health. Burnout in the workplace is so common that roughly 91% of US workers report being unable to cope with stress and 77% saying they've burned out at least once during their career.
Perhaps that's why some of us go into business for ourselves. However even the best of us can experience burnout. Let's take a minute to look at the 5 stages of burnout, look at yourself honestly and see if you are on the fast track to burnout!
The Honeymoon Phase - You've just started your business and things are going well. Sure you have a lot of hats to wear but come on, you've got energy and ambition! Ain't nothing gonna break your stride!
The Balancing Act - It's been a few weeks now and you're surviving. However, there are aspects of running your business that you don't really enjoy. Signs you've entered this stage could be poor sleep, inefficiency, fatigue, and neglecting your personal needs.
Chronic Symptoms - The above symptoms have intensified and your original energy is GONE. You might be in denial at this point thinking it's someone else's fault that you are feeling this way (ahem, you work for yourself). Instead of taking a step back you throw yourself deeper into your work and your social life might suffer because of it. Queue the anger and depression, oh and it's no longer fatigue … it's chronic exhaustion.
The Crisis Stage - The stress of your work is causing you to breakdown. Your detaching from your life and you are at serious risk for a mental breakdown. This stage might feel like you've lost control of your life, feeling empty, and you could have symptoms of anxiety and/or depression. You may have become obsessed with work and your thinking is very pessimistic.
Enmeshment - Congratulations. You are now one with your burnout. It is who you are. You hardly even notice your symptoms anymore . . . it just comes with the territory right? WRONG! If you don't make some radical changes you are now at risk for long-term physical and mental illness. This. Is. Serious.
Well this isn't good . . . is there anything you can do to prevent this from happening? Yes!
Evaluate your priorities - Remember, work to live. Don't live to work. Don't neglect your family or yourself!
Simplify - Are there aspects of your work that you can delegate? Look into outsourcing certain tasks/assignments so your workload lightens up.
Set boundaries - Set aside time when you WILL NOT WORK. Set some parameters on your phone or computer so that you don't even get notified when an email comes in during this specific time.
Renew yourself- Go outside. Sit in a hammock. Play with your dog. Read a book. Bottom line, do something that refreshes you and gives you energy!
I hope this provides you some insight into your current situation. If you feel like you need help running the day to day aspect of your business remember - the team at 9 to 5 is here for you!