Stress is a natural part of life. According to a recent Gallup survey, conducted in 2021, stress in America reached all-time highs, with 41% of Americans reporting that they experience a lot of stress. It’s only natural that individuals in high-stress jobs will report higher levels of stress.
This is especially true for entrepreneurs–75% report feeling concerned about their mental health. This stress often builds up, leading to business owner burnout. A majority (63%) of entrepreneurs agree that their responsibilities are burning them out.
What is Burnout?
Burnout is a unique occupational phenomenon that stems from chronic workplace stress. Individuals with high-stress careers, like entrepreneurs, may be more prone to developing these extreme feelings. While burnout symptoms can appear similar to those of more serious conditions like depression and anxiety, burnout is unique in that once you’re able to address the factors contributing to burnout, you begin to feel better.
When comparing burnout vs. depression, mental health conditions often don’t have a defined trigger that can be easily addressed. This means that creating an arsenal of tools to prevent burnout will be extremely important for your entrepreneurial journey.
What is the Best Way to Reduce Workplace Stress?
If you’re feeling stressed at work, it’s likely your employees may be as well. As a business owner, even though you hold more responsibility, you should also seek to create an environment where your employees feel supported and productive. After all, this could help make your job easier and work to reduce stress.
If you’ve begun to notice signs of stress at work, here are some ways to can work to reduce workplace stress:
- Facilitate Open Communication: Foster an environment within your company that allows employees to share their thoughts, encourages constructive feedback, and positively manages conflict. This can help to reduce feelings of stress within the workplace and enable employees to perform more effectively.
- Encourage Breaks: Overworked employees will be ineffective and unproductive. If you encourage employees (and yourself!) to take breaks throughout the day, everyone will be able to come back to the office feeling more productive and relaxed.
- Offer Flexibility: If possible, you can also allow yourself and your employees to work a flexible work schedule. For example, you can employ a hybrid work schedule that enables employees to work from home some days. Offering flexibility can allow employees to create a better work/life balance, so they’ll feel more productive during work hours.
How Do I Avoid Burnout?
While burnout can seem complex to deal with, it can actually be quite simple. Many common stress-reduction techniques are also effective at combating burnout. Here are the top 5 ways to avoid burnout:
- Exercise: With a busy schedule, it can be difficult to set aside some time to stay active. However, regular exercise will help you feel better and enhance your sense of well-being. The CDC recommends getting at least 30 minutes of exercise, 5 days per week. This doesn’t have to be strenuous physical activity, get outside on a walk or take a yoga class.
- Eat Healthy: When stress begins to pile up, it’s easy to reach for unhealthy foods. However, a healthy diet is an important part of maintaining your well-being. Your diet can have a significant impact on your mood, immune system, sleep patterns, and attention span, so prioritizing healthy foods will help you maintain your bodily systems to reduce overall stress.
- Take Time Off: If you need to take a break from work, take time off to reset. Even taking a weekend away from work can help you unwind and spend time with your family and friends, or focus on your hobbies. If this isn’t feasible, spend your evenings away from work instead to give you time to focus on yourself instead of getting back to emails as soon as they come in.
- Get Enough Sleep: If you’re constantly getting less sleep than your body needs, it can take a significant toll. Sleep helps you regulate your emotions and manage stress. If you have trouble getting to bed, create a nighttime routine that will help you fall asleep. This could include putting electronic devices away, drinking some non-caffeinated tea, or taking a hot shower.
- Stay Organized: If you’re disorganized, this could be a significant source of stress. Take time to organize your meetings, deadlines, and other responsibilities so that you have a better understanding of what your commitments are and how much time you have to get other things done. This can help to relieve the stress of worrying about when your next meeting is coming up.
How to Beat Burnout Without Quitting Your Job
For entrepreneurs, quitting your job is most likely off the table. This means that you’ll need to devise burnout prevention strategies that allow you to reach your fullest potential. Think of how you typically deal with stress. Some of these same techniques will help you overcome burnout. However, one of the most important things you can do is focus on self-care.
Ensure you get enough sleep, take time to exercise, eat a healthy diet, and set aside time that you can spend doing things you enjoy. These activities will help you feel refreshed and ready to tackle whatever challenges your business can throw your way.