Entrepreneurs are in a unique position. Fueled with passion and exciting ideas for their business, the demands of entrepreneurship can often take over and leave business owners feeling extremely stressed, dispassionate, unmotivated, and unhappy with their decision to run a business. This is often referred to as burnout, an occupational phenomenon that is triggered by the many pressures of running a business.
First-time entrepreneurs may lack the right tools to prevent burnout, whereas seasoned entrepreneurs may have a better idea of what types of challenges they may encounter and how to navigate those obstacles.
These feelings can take a toll on the physical and mental well-being of any entrepreneur, but they can have detrimental effects on the business as well. Exhausted, stressed-out business owners are less productive and may make poor business decisions if they lack the necessary focus.
What Causes Fatigue?
Burnout, or entrepreneur fatigue, is an extremely dynamic occupational phenomenon that can affect everyone differently. As such, many things can contribute to burnout. Here are some of the most common causes of burnout:
- Lack of Control: As a business owner, there are many external factors that you have no control over. This may include the economic environment or an evolving market. Worrying about these factors can be an enormous source of stress that can continue to build up.
- Lack of Social Support: Building a business can feel isolating – your friends and family may not understand its complexities which can make it hard to rely on them for support. At the same time, the time commitment to building a business can throw off your work-life balance and increase your feelings of isolation.
- Heavy Workloads: It’s inevitable that building a business takes a lot of work. However, working long hours is a significant contributor to burnout. This can be more prevalent for business owners without the appropriate number of staff to delegate tasks to.
- Activity Levels: Whether your work is highly repetitive or extremely chaotic, these factors can influence your feelings towards work. Requiring constant energy to remain focused can encourage burnout.
What is the Best Strategy for Preventing Fatigue and Burnout?
There is no right answer to solving burnout as there are many strategies that can be employed to alleviate stress. If you’re looking for a fatigue treatment, here are some approaches to try:
- Prioritize healthy habits: When you’re stressed it’s easy to fall behind on sleep or eat foods that are better avoided. Avoid these temptations and focus on maintaining a healthy diet, which can also boost your mood. At the same time, it can be hard to get enough sleep if you’re up all night worrying. Getting enough sleep is often challenging, but aiming for seven to nine hours is ideal.
- Stay active: Keeping your body active is extremely effective at boosting your mood, but it can be easy to skip exercise when other priorities are getting in the way. According to the Cleveland Clinic, you should aim for at least 150 minutes of exercise every week.
- Avoid drugs and alcohol: Alcohol use can actually increase feelings of anxiety, and over time, frequent alcohol use can build dangerous habits. At the same time, alcohol disrupts your sleep cycle and causes you to be more fatigued.
- Find time to relax: Set aside dedicated time that you can use to unwind. Whether it’s going for a walk, spending time with your family, catching up on your favorite show, or practicing your hobbies, find what you enjoy doing and ensure you get time to do it.
- Create a balance between home and work: As a business owner, the lines between your personal life and business can sometimes blur. If you’re feeling stressed, rebalance these two parts of your life.
- Take a vacation: A great way to alleviate work-related stress is to take a break from it. Schedule some time off or plan a weekend getaway where you can have time to relax and get your mind off work.
How to Avoid Burnout as an Entrepreneur
Once you’ve gotten business burnout under control, you’ll want to avoid it in the future. Fortunately, the ways to avoid burnout are identical to treating it. Focus on prioritizing healthy habits, disconnecting from work, and taking time to yourself and you’ll be able to avoid letting burnout overwhelm you. This will make you a more effective and productive business owner.