As an entrepreneur, you are constantly "on". Not only do you have your hands full with the day to day operations of your business, but everyone in your organisation probably looks to you for direction and guidance. It's also likely that your personal life is full of needs, demands and drains on your time and energy. Even when you lay your head on your pillow to sleep, your mind is probably still full of thoughts and plans related to your work. All of this constant activity and pressure means that you face a high risk of burnout.
Signs You Might be Burned Out
The signs of burnout vary widely. Some report that they feel lifeless and drained of all energy, all of the time, no matter how much sleep that they try to get. Others may suffer from mood swings, going from laughter to tears with little warning.
Feeling anxious and suffering from frequent, and sudden, panic attacks can also be a sign of burnout. Sometimes, the stress levels can be so high, sufferers begin to feel so overwhelmed and out of control that they start to avoid social interactions and activities that they used to enjoy.
Seven Tips to Avoid Burnout
The following are seven tips that can help business owners better manage their stress levels and help them to avoid burnout.
Delegate. During the startup phase, most owners are responsible for every aspect of their business. No one person can do everything forever, so it's important that owners increase their staffing levels and as their businesses grows, they learn to delegate more of the tasks and responsibilities.
Outsource. If your business isn't quite ready to handle bringing on full and part time staff, consider outsourcing to help manage busy holiday sales promotions or other peak work periods. Outsourcing is also a great way to gain the expertise of specialists in a number of industries, including legal, marketing, design and accounting, without having to pay a professional to be on staff full time.
Expand Your Network of Connections. Consider joining trade associations and other organisations within your industry to expand your network and make connections with fellow entrepreneurs. Connecting with others that share your interests and understand the challenges of being in business can be a unique source of inspiration and encouragement.
Find a Mentor or Coach. There are times in our lives when we can all benefit from a more direct, one-on-one relationship with someone who has successfully survived what we are currently going through. Finding a mentor or coach can help you relieve stress and gain insight by serving as a valuable sounding board with which to discuss business ideas and plans. You can also discover tips for how to better manage stress.
Unplug and Leave Your Work at Work. While it might not seem as though you have time for it, it is very important to make time for yourself each day and to unplug from the duties and demands of your work. Leave your work at the office each day, and spend some time each day doing something that you enjoy.
Adopt a Healthy Lifestyle. Your body and mind will be able to handle the effects of stress more easily if you do your part to strengthen your physical and mental stamina. Adopt a healthy lifestyle and make a point to eat a nutritious, balanced diet. Aim to get plenty of rest each night, and avoid caffeine, smoking and other habits that can harm your health. Take time out to get some moderate exercise, such as walking or running for 20 to 30 minutes each day, to improve overall fitness and cardiovascular health.
Don't Forget to Try New Things and Have Fun. While it might be hard to believe, getting caught up in the same boring routine can be very stressful. Try to shake things up from time to time to learn something new that would be interesting or fun for you. Take up a new hobby, learn a new language or even taking a short trip. These are all ways to break out of the monotony of your routine and press the reset button on your stress levels!