How to Deal with Burnout as an Entrepreneur
Starting and running a business is undoubtedly one of the most stressful things you can do. Whether you’re at the early stages or further along your journey, the pressure is always on. And on top of this, there’s the constant uncertainty you have to deal with. It can be stressful and lonely to deal with it all while trying to look after your people, investors, and home life.
While living in a state of stress and even anxiety can be perceived as the norm for entrepreneurs, the reality is stress is cumulative. Unless you have strategies in place to help you manage stress and anxiety, it can lead to burnout.
The concept of burnout is recognized by the World Health Organization as a problem resulting from chronic or unrelenting high workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.
The challenge is that while we might usually be aware of being under a lot of stress, burnout can creep up on us without recognizing that it is even happening. When a business owner is burnt out, not only do you suffer, but your team and the business suffer too.
That’s why I’m on a mission to help people to recognize stress and anxiety, and give them the tools to prevent them from reaching the point of burnout.
Here are eight simple steps from the “Mind Strength Method,” my groundbreaking methodology that I’ve developed from decades of experience working with my clients to help them to build resilient, high-performing mindsets. These steps will help you to move out of fight or flight mode (AKA stress and anxiety) to empowered action.
8 Steps to Move from a Surviving to Thriving Mindset
Step 1: Notice
Take notice of the “worry thoughts” that may be going around and around in your head. Write down the worry thoughts as they arise to get the thoughts out of your head and to give you some distance from them.
Step 2: Pause
Take a moment to pause and focus on your breathing. A proven technique I use with clients is to take long, slow out-breaths and then let your lungs fill up naturally on the inhale. Taking time to consciously breathe is also a useful tool for helping you to respond to a stressful situation as it can take you out of fight or flight mode.
Step 3: Acknowledge
Validate the worry thoughts and feelings, try not to struggle against them. The struggle is what keeps us in fight or flight mode.
Step 4: Accept
Accepting the situation you are in and all the unknowns and challenges will enable you to reengage the rational mind. There is always uncertainty to deal with, not least the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, so it’s important to accept the situation for what it is.
Step 5: Focus
Bring your mind back to the present moment with the help of a mindfulness exercise such as scanning your surroundings to notice five things you can see, smell, or hear. Focusing on the present moment gives us a greater sense of control.
Step 6: Problem-Solve
Ask yourself “what is in my control, and what is out of my control?” and let go of what is out of your control. Worry is a futile mental process because it’s a never-ending struggle with uncertainty. Tip the focus from worry into problem solving and action planning around what is in your control.
Step 7: Mood-Boosters
Feeling flat or having low energy? Build some of these mood boosters into your daily routine to give you energy. Remember that small actions are better than doing nothing at all. Get moving by going for a walk or doing 10 push-ups—any movement is better than none.
- Breathe, be mindful, or meditate.
- Write down 5 things that you are grateful for today—trust me, this feels good to do!
- Celebrate effort, not outcome, and reward yourself for the work you have put in.
- Phone a friend, send a voice note, or message to connect with a friend or colleague you haven’t seen in a while.
Step 8: Be Kind to Yourself
Embrace kindness and self-compassion by speaking to yourself in the way that you would speak to your best friend. We can be our own biggest critics, and being kind to yourself can help you move from fear, stress, and frustration to calm, empowered action.
Now you have some tools to take you out of fight or flight mode whenever you need it and not only prevent burnout but help you to build a high-performing, thriving mindset. Want to find out more? Pick up a copy of The Mind Strength Method: Four Steps to Curb Anxiety, Conquer Worry and Build Resilience, at drjodie.com.au/shop.
*Foundr is not an official medical journal or practice. While we strive to present accurate information, anything we say or share should not be used as a substitute for advice from a licensed medical doctor or therapist. If you suffer from an anxiety disorder, please seek treatment from a qualified medical professional.