What Causes Business Burnout?
Many entrepreneurs share the same challenge: leading a business can cause an immense amount of stress that can be difficult to manage. Since 2019, the World Health Organization has included burnout in its International Classification of Diseases as an occupational phenomenon. According to the WHO, the syndrome is described as being the result of chronic, unmanaged workplace stress. An important distinction is that burnout in business is not a medical condition.
Even so, it can be a complex state to navigate. To be a successful entrepreneur, a key tool will be to identify what works best for you. Once you fix burnout, you’ll want to regularly practice these strategies to avoid burnout in the future.
What are The Symptoms of Entrepreneur Burnout?
If you’re looking to overcome burnout in business, you’ll need to start by identifying if how you’re feeling aligns with the syndrome. Here are the top 5 burnout symptoms you’ll want to keep an eye out for:
- Fatigue: Feeling tired is not uncommon; it’s easy to feel like you could do with a little bit more sleep if your schedule has been extra busy. However, fatigue is more than just the occasional feeling of tiredness–it’s extreme tiredness that can affect all areas of your life. Even if you get a full night of sleep, you might wake up feeling exhausted and lack the energy to make it through your day.
- Apathy: If you’re becoming burned out, you might begin to feel disconnected and dissatisfied with your work. This may be accompanied by feelings that nothing you do matters or that your work is pointless.
- Headaches: With burnout being closely associated with stress, it is common to develop stress-related tension headaches. These are often described as having a mild-to-moderate pain level and may feel like a tight band is being wrapped around your forehead.
- Diet: When you’re feeling stressed, you probably don’t want to take the time to cook a meal. While it may seem easier to pick up something quick at a drive-through, being stressed can cause you to have a poor diet. Your diet can affect many aspects of your life, including your mood, so eating healthily can help you reduce stress levels.
- Sleep: Sleep is an important part of life. After all, it’s when your body is allowed to rest and recover from daily wear on your body. When dealing with high levels of stress, you’re likely not sleeping as much as you should, which means that these repair processes become less effective and you feel more run down. Stress could be keeping you awake at night or contributing to high levels of fatigue. You might also feel like you need to sleep at abnormal times of the day.
Be aware that many of these symptoms can be associated with mental health conditions, like depression, as well. If you’re uncertain whether your feelings can be attributable to burnout, seeking out a mental health professional can help you identify the cause of these symptoms so you can address them appropriately.
How to Handle Burnout as a Business Owner
Burnout can be difficult to manage, but it’s not impossible. The key is to identify strategies that can help you keep stress under control. Since there’s not one right answer, solving business burn out is typically based on many personal factors. However, many common themes arise. These typically include tried and true methods of handling stress.
Ultimately, burnout begins to decrease when you’re able to take some time away from work. This could be stopping yourself before you can check your email in the evenings or taking the weekend off. During this time, focus on things that you enjoy – spend time with family, build your hobbies, or get outdoors. Whatever makes you feel less stressed will help you to navigate periods of stress and keep it under control. As a result, you’ll be less prone to feeling burned out.
How Long Does It Take to Recover From a Professional Burnout?
Fortunately, it is possible to overcome burnout. According to the Cleveland Clinic, the burnout recovery timeline can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. It depends on unique factors that influence your life, such as the strength of your support system and how intense the burnout became before it was addressed. The more healthy coping mechanisms you have, the faster you’ll be able to overcome burnout.