You have a million things on your to-do list, but you can't manage to complete even the simplest. You might be giving 110 percent, but it's feeling like it's not enough. You might even be ready to throw in the founder flag and go out and get a normal job. This is what burnout feels like. And it's a common feeling for busy entrepreneurs, myself included. In fact, it's the reason why I wanted to close the door on my business last month.
Burnout can happen to anyone. Here are thee ways you can recharge even when running your company is feeling overwhelming.
1. Give Yourself a Break: You Deserve It
I've been traveling for the past two years to build my two businesses. The time spent bouncing around from different countries and working on my business has been incredibly rewarding but last month, I felt completely and utterly exhausted. The thought of getting on another plane made me want to pull up the covers and hide in bed. Even something as simple as answering emails started to feel like an enormous feat. During this period, I felt so defeated that I was ready to pull the plug on my business--something I'd worked so hard over the last two years to build. Reaching out to my entrepreneurial friends, I learned this sentiment was more common than I thought.
It can be easier said than done, but when you're experiencing burnout or mental health issues, simply stepping away from everything on your to-do list can make your impending tasks feel more manageable. During my burnout, I hit pause on new projects and took a trip to New York to connect with friends and colleagues. Just a few days free of non-stop work left me feeling energized and inspired to continue down my path of entrepreneurship.
In between busy periods, some entrepreneurs even schedule time on their calendar to make sure they're getting the rest and downtime that they need. When you know you're going to have a high-stress workload, Jennifer Kem, founder of Master Brand Method, recommends that you "block out hours to restore, recharge and renew." During times of insane workloads, these downtimes can be a saving grace.
2. You Only Have One Body, Take Care of Yourself
With tax returns to complete, marketing campaigns to run, and sales to close, taking care of yourself can often fall by the wayside, but self-care is one of the most important things you can do for yourself and your business.
Taking an honest look at my diet and lifestyle, I realized that my unhealthy habits like skipping meals and reaching for that extra whiskey weren't helping my productivity levels--or helping me feel sane. I'm now more committed than ever to healthy lifestyle that not only fuels my body, but also my company.
It's easy to grab a drink or a slice of pizza to de-stress but when you're feeling exhausted, recharging starts with a healthy diet and lifestyle. If you've hit burnout, take a look at not only your workload, but also your lifestyle. When your body is healthy and functioning properly, it will be easier to tackle the million things you have to do.
"My morning routine is a non-negotiable," explained Allen Brouwer, co-founder of BestSelf Co. "It helps me perform at my best and always consists of four things: Something physical, spiritual, emotional and mental. For example, I meditate, do CrossFit, read to sharpen my mind, and practice gratitude to nurture my sense of appreciation. With my morning routine complete I already feel accomplished because I've invested time in the things that help me perform at my best."
Take care of yourself, but don't make fitness and health feel like another impending project. Make fitness and self-care fun. Enroll in a fun fitness class, go hiking with friends, or plan a day out. The endorphins will not only make you happier, but also more productive.
3. Outsource and Ask for Help
I had been sleeping at 5am for a few months and it felt as if my to-do list would never be complete. If you're feeling burnt out, the cause might simply be that you're trying to do too much. While building my business, I've learned that outsourcing different pieces of the project not only makes my workload manageable, but also makes the project better with experts helping to fill in the gaps where I'm lacking in knowledge or bandwidth.
When I'm feeling stressed, I take a look at my to-do list and I see who on my team could tackle the tasks even better than I could. I also make sure to reach out to friends to tell them about how I'm feeling.
"Focus on restorative relationships," recommends Sarah Kaler and Brenda Wilkins, co-founders of SoulPowered. "A restorative relationship is one where deep trust and honesty are present, you feel energized by your time with them and you can ask for help with no strings attached. Enroll your support system as accountability partners in the support of your life design. This power network can be made up of professional colleagues, team members, family and friends, service providers, health-care partners and more."
If you're experiencing burnout while running a company, you're not alone. By asking for help when you need it, resting, and taking some time for yourself, you'll recover and come back stronger than ever to run your business.