Most people experience burnout at least once in their life. Some of us experience it multiple times.
Chances are you are reading this article because you are a business owner or want to be a business owner -- or a creative, or someone looking to take their career to the next level. If so, then you most likely have an appetite for productivity and are hot on the trail of success.
But this means you are also a prime candidate for burnout if you aren’t careful.
The first and often most difficult step to avoiding and overcoming burnout is identifying it. This can be tricky because it doesn’t always look like you might think.
Here are some different ways it shows up:
1. Running on empty
The typical burnout exhibits in the form of utter and complete exhaustion -- when you feel as if you are running on empty and no amount of rest seems to be enough, ever. You lose your drive, your joy, your life force.
2. Anxiety and panic attacks
Sometimes when a person has never experienced a panic attack before and he or she has one, it may seem like a life-threatening situation that sends the person straight to the ER. Despite the shortness of breath and pain in the chest, the doctors say it was “just an anxiety attack.”
Burnout can cause a constant state of anxiety and stress where your senses are on overdrive and you are on a “fight or flight” plane of existence.
3. Feeling overwhelmed
Before you were always king or queen of your domain, winning at life and taking names, but now you want to stop the world and get off because everything seems to be just too much to handle and you want to crawl into a hole and not come out.
Because burnout is a common thing for entrepreneurs, if you find yourself experiencing it, be sure to go easy on yourself. Remember you are human, your body has limits and you can only push it so far. You will tell yourself you are lazy and try to keep moving forward but, in true burnout, you will not be able to keep going.
How to overcome business burnout
The most important thing to do when you have hit the burnout wall is to focus on self-care. If you have been working on chasing and building your dreams, you have probably had tunnel vision for quite some time and left your self-care far behind you.
When you have already reached burnout status, these are some things I do to get back to health sooner. You can try them, too.
Massage and reflexology: You really can’t get too many of these when you are in burnout mode. Your nervous system is frazzled and massage can help to calm it. That's why I do this once a week if I can.
Acupuncture: One of the most effective methods I’ve found for ridding anxiety that doesn’t involve medication. Also one of the most restorative naps you will ever take with needles in your skin (scary at first, but I find one of the most relaxing things you can do for yourself if you surrender to it).
Sleep: Focus on getting plenty of sleep, and good sleep hygiene means going to bed and waking at the same time each day. Your mind and body need sleep more than you think.
Play: In other words, get a life. Take a fun fitness class, hang out with your friends, toss a Frisbee at the park, play a game of chess with a friend, spend time wrestling with your kids. Laugh your ass off.
Eat well: Get your eating on a schedule and fuel up regularly with healthy stuff like greens, veggies, fruit and lean protein. You are probably guilty of skipping meals in lieu of working straight through the day and then eating a large supreme pizza by yourself at 11 p.m. finally, then staying up half the night with heartburn only to do it again the next day. You want to minimize caffeine and sugar intake as well, as these things can heighten anxiety.
These are just a few of the fundamental things you can do to overcome burnout, and you will probably find your own methods for restoring your motivation and energy. The way to avoid burnout altogether is to keep these strategies in your regular routine of self-care maintenance so your work is more productive and sustainable.
Make these tactics daily and weekly priorities and you can set yourself up for the win indefinitely.