What are The Symptoms of Burnout in Business Owners?

What is Burnout Syndrome in Business?

Burnout in business is a very common occurrence in high-stress professions. 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 it is not a medical condition. However, it shares some similarities with mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. 

How Many Business Owners Are Burned Out?

Unfortunately, burnout is very common among entrepreneurs. Taking a look at entrepreneur burnout statistics, a majority – 63% – report that they are currently dealing with it or have dealt with the syndrome in the past. In the business environment, burnout is so prevalent because business owners wear many hats in the operation of their business and face a unique level of stress. There are many reasons why this number is so high. Factors like financial stress, work/life balance, and day-to-day stress can accelerate burnout.

Despite the frequency with which entrepreneurs experience burnout, it can be difficult to navigate because 84% of business owners agree that there continues to be a stigma around mental health. This can make business owners reluctant to discuss their experience and makes it more difficult for other business owners to seek support. 

What are the Symptoms of Burnout in Business Owners?

If you’re looking to overcome burnout in business, you’ll need to start by identifying if how you are feeling aligns with the syndrome. According to the Cleveland Clinic, there are five primary symptoms to watch out for. These include fatigue, apathy, headaches, changes to eating habits, and reduced sleep. 

  1. Fatigue: This symptom manifests as 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. You may feel an overwhelming urge to sleep.
  2. Apathy: If you’re becoming burned out, you might begin to feel disconnected and dissatisfied with your work. You might begin to feel like nothing you do matters. 
  3. Headaches: Since burnout is closely related to stress, you might develop stress-related tension headaches. These are often described as having a mild-to-moderate pain level and are described as having the sensation of a tight band being wrapped around your forehead. 
  4. Diet: For entrepreneurs dealing with burnout, it’s not uncommon for their diet to suffer. When dealing with a lot of stress, it might feel easier to pick up a quick bite to eat from a drive-through or indulge in unhealthy foods. This can also have an impact on your sleep, energy levels, and immune system.
  5. Sleep: When dealing with high levels of stress, you’re likely not sleeping as much as you should. 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. 

Keep in mind that many of these symptoms can be associated with mental health conditions, like depression, as well. If you feel like you’re unsure whether you’re burned out or are actually experiencing something more serious, seek out a mental health professional who can offer support. 

How Do Entrepreneurs Deal With Burnout?

Even though burnout can be severely detrimental, there are ways to deal with it and begin to feel better. Many strategies can help overcome burnout, so it’s important to identify what works best for you. This can include prioritizing your mental health, taking time for the things you enjoy, creating a routine, and building boundaries between work and your personal life. 

Since burnout can closely resemble depression, talking to a mental health professional is an excellent way to understand how you feel. This gives you a safe, non-judgmental place to discuss your worries and receive valuable tools that can help you cope with these feelings. This can also help you prevent burnout from evolving into something worse. 

Focusing on things you enjoy is an important part of overcoming burnout. This gives you time to develop your interests outside of work and spend time with friends and family. Spending time this way can also serve as a distraction from work-related stress, giving you time to unwind and decompress. Developing health boundaries between work and your personal life also goes hand-in-hand with this as well. 

Lastly, try creating a daily routine that can help keep you focused. With a routine, you have to worry less about what you’ll need to do that day and can instead focus on getting things done. 

By taking these things into consideration, you can begin on the road towards entrepreneur burnout recovery. When you’re able to healthily manage stress, you’ll find that you’re more productive and are better able to lead your business toward success.