I’ve been thinking a lot about this term burnout lately. I feel like I hear it frequently in the online business world. The gurus warn you not to hit burnout. However, it almost feels inevitable. That’s because we’re also told that you have to hustle in the beginning. Then, through that hustle, you hit a wall. That’s when you start to prioritize what’s really important in your business. But does it really have to be that way? I say this because I feel like I hit a season of burnout. And to be honest, I wasn’t fully aware it. So today I’m diving into my experience with burnout, how to avoid burnout and how I reignited the fire. I’m also sharing tips on what to do if you feel like you’re in that season too!
What Is Burnout?
I looked up the definition of burnout, and it said: a form of exhaustion caused by constantly feeling swamped. It’s a result of excessive and prolonged emotional, physical and mental stress. In many cases, burnout is related to your job.
It’s also important to note that burnout is different than stress. Stress is having too much on your plate — too much work to handle, too many responsibilities, too many hours spent working. Burnout is the opposite. You typically feel like you don’t have enough — not enough motivation, not enough energy, not enough care.
My Experience with Burnout + How to Avoid Burnout
In full disclosure, I also feel like being pregnant had a lot to do with my experience with burnout. But as an entrepreneur, it can be easy to feel all the pressure.
It can be easy to look around online at what everyone else is doing and feel like you need to do more, more, more. I know I feel that way constantly.
It’s also easy to let that feeling of not being enough creep in, causing another coined term, imposter syndrome. That combined with the fatigue of working 24/7 can be a dangerous combination. That’s exactly where I was a few months ago. I’m almost embarrassed to admit this, and truthfully thought twice about sharing this publicly. But I also know that this is all a part of the journey of business and hopefully this show you how to avoid burnout altogether.
I was juggling the business and client work while also trying to grow. I felt like I had all these glass plates in the air that I needed to keep spinning. It was almost like a paralyzing feeling.
The reason I knew I was in a season of burnout is because the work that used to bring me so much joy and gratitude, suddenly felt like it was taking over my life. It felt like I had to work seven days a week and could never take a break, let alone a day off.
I so badly wanted to grow a thriving business, but the idea of growing it anymore also felt too daunting to imagine. I didn’t want to show up on social media and truthfully, I had days where I was ready to throw in the towel.
And right now you’re probably thinking, but Amanda you preach about this dream business and being able to have the life and freedom you want. Yep, I know. That’s part of why I was hiding from social media because I felt like a fraud. I knew I was standing on a pillar that was currently true of my life. I also knew it was of my own making.
How I Climbed Out of That Season
After I realized something had to change, I started creating more boundaries and set a new working routine. By shifting small daily habits, I noticed a huge impact. I’m excited to report that today I feel like myself again. That says a lot considering I’m 9 months pregnant. But even knowing I’m about to have a baby and things are liking going to shift in my life and business, I have such a healthy mindset around it all.
But I want to circle back because I know so many other people out there that are hitting the hustle mentality hard and I want to go over ways to know if you’re in that season of burnout. I didn’t realize I was even burnout until it was in the thick of, and I don’t want that for you.
Signs of Burnout
If you want to know how to avoid burnout, you have to know the signs of it. That way you can identify it quickly and make shifts in your business.
Physical symptoms include:
- Feeling tired
- Having difficulty sleeping
- Experiencing a change in appetite
- Dealing with headaches or muscle pain
Emotional symptoms include:
- Lacking motivation
- Experiencing feelings of self-doubt
- Having feelings of failure or loneliness
- Feeling dissatisfied
Behavioral symptoms include:
- Wanting social isolation
- Unable to perform your responsibilities
- Work-related anger outbursts
- Avoiding tasks related to your business
- Not excited to do the work you once used to be elated to do
- Not creative or passionate around the business
- Work 24/7 with no end in sight
- Feel overwhelmed and stressed
What to Do if Your Experiencing Burnout
If you’re experiencing burnout, here are a few tips to help you:
The first thing you want to do is take a look at the boundaries (or lack thereof) that you have in place. Can you setup a system or strategy to help you streamline processes? Maybe this looks like having a tough conversation with a client or team member around communication. Our team communicates through a program called Slack. That way, we aren’t receiving text messages, email messages and messages through our task management system from one another. All our communication is streamlined through one platform. I have a huge list of other tools you can use in your business in this post HERE.
Know Your Time Is Valuable
As humans, we weren’t built to be machines. You deserve to take a break and step away from the hustle. Remember that you can’t pour anything from an empty cup. Once I started to implement more structured boundaries into my life, it gave me room to breathe, and be creative. But feeling like my brain was always on 24/7 was exhausting. No one can be expected to do that. It’s simply not sustainable.
Come Back to Your Why
Now if you’re no longer excited about the work you’re doing, I recommend stepping away from the business for at least a few days and come back to your why. What are your goals for your business? What do you need to change to make that happen? Then go implement that! I know, I know, easier said than done, right?
If you’re feeling overwhelmed and everything feels like a priority, my advice is to take a step back and ask yourself how can I make this simple? Identify why you’re feeling overwhelmed and ask yourself what the root cause of that truly is. Then, create an action plan around that one thing.
Most of the time, initiating that action plan is exactly what you need to shift your mindset.
I want to encourage you and remind you that the reason we build a business is so that we can have a life that we love. Don’t let that business take over your life. We want our businesses to work for us, and not the other way around. Afterall, we are strong and we are bold, bold enough to overcome burnout and certainly bold enough to avoid it altogether.