How to overcome burnout & fatigue as an entrepreneur
Burnout- and fatigue are real for everyone. Especially those who work hard and give their all in what that they do. Although the social media highlight reel we call Instagram may make things seem perfect. I like to keep it real and transparent. It's hard to wear so many hats and stay motivated without feeling burned out and tired from all the labor pains that come with entrepreneurship and building a business from the ground up.
This week this all hit very close to home as I struggled to find the motivation to send another email, post another post on Instagram and log another booked vendor. The more that SSE grows the harder it is to juggle all the responsibilities I have as the CEO, Creative Director, Social Media manager, not to mention my personal obligations as a wife and mother of two. The more we grow so do my to-do lists. Looking at them can sometimes seem insurmountable. When you add a whole full time job to it- sometimes I wake up and think- "Not today."
This is exactly what happened this past Monday while I was at work. I was finally tackling a project that had been sitting for months. For some odd reason, anxiety started to manifest in the form of a panic attack. The never ending, personal, career, mom, wife, and business to do lists all seemed to collide. I just thought there is no way I'll ever get this all done. I'm always going to be a failure and I am never going to see things change. I left work early that day to try to find some solace in self-care. The following morning I arose to prepare for work and take my daughter to school. I felt no different than the day before. As I arose to prepare myself and children for the day I realized it was one of those "not today," days. I reached for my phone to alert my boss that I would not be in.
I took the day off for spiritual, mental and emotional maintenance and to get to the root cause of how and why I was feeling how I felt. As I strolled along the shore of Huntington Beach- I realized that a big source of the angst I felt was due to actual fear of failure and overwhelm with the many "things to do," I was feeling overwhelmed by.
I sat down on the beach and allowed the water to baptize my feet. I wept there and breathed and thought to myself- wow I really needed this. I continued my day by getting a mani/pedi and feeding myself my favorite food, junk food and drinks (hi wine). As the day progressed I realized that had I gone into work and forced myself to walk on a sprained ankle- figuratively, I would have only made my situation worse.
Self love is gaining popularity in pop culture and that's great but the truth is self love really is about spiritual, mental and emotional health, setting boundaries, taking breaks and doing things you enjoy more than it is about bath bombs and manicures. Those things are great- they're great tools to get you in the self-love makin mood but the truth is we have to be intentional and conscious about the cycles we put ourselves through be it work, home-life or travel that have detrimental wear and tear on our emotions, well being and potentially drive the burnout and fatigue we feel.
Even when we workout the muscles need their rest.
Oddly enough, prior to arriving at the beach I actually felt some guilt about taking a day off and getting lost for a day. Don't allow fatigue to get you to the point of disbelief. If you don't stop and invest in yourself that is exactly the outcome you can expect.
In order to shake the pain of fatigue:
do things that bring you joy
take a break from all your lists
Put your phone down sometimes
Numbers 9-11 are probably the most important. During my day away I realized the second reason for the brink of a breakdown I was facing was because I was truly hitting a wall of unbelief. I try my best to be strong, see the big picture, keep my eyes on the prize but it is freaking hard when you're in it. Anyone who says otherwise is lying and I need to be on the drugs they're on (LOL).
What you have is gold. There are people who can't figure out how you did it. They want to do it but they just don't understand how YOU were able to make it happen.
There are day to day things you can do to manage your mitigate burnout:
1. Meditate- on positive things like the progress you've already made and your ultimate goal
2. Go on a walk- get moving, get outside, and appreciate nature
3. Listen to music
4. Dance it out
Lastly, one thing I am changing about how I organize is how routine my schedule is and the things I pile on/place on the back burner. Whatever you're avoiding do it first. It will remove all the anxiety surrounding getting it done. Get it out of the way.
Other ways to mitigate burnout on the day to day:
Write the long list down including all the goals you hope to accomplish during the week.
Take that list and prioritize it.
Divide it up equally by days of the week
Block time for each item.
Work on the items during it's designated time period and when the time period ends move on to the next.
Remember: Do your best and forget the rest.
Life is so much more than our to do list. One thing I appreciate out my mini breakdown is getting away from work..duh. But seriously... going to the beach. Staying home with my son. Playing with him. Eating junk food, getting my feet done and watching junk TV. It was totally worth it- I might have to schedule that once a week... just kidding.
Last last thing (lol):
Burnout is normal. Fatigue is natural- that's why our bodies require rest and renewal. However, it is not natural or healthy to push yourself past fatigue. Don't do it. The World needs the rested, renewed, inspired and motivated you.