Likely you’re reading this article because you own a small business or would like to start your entrepreneurial journey. If so, then you also likely possess the characteristics of an entrepreneur, and that also means you’re a prime candidate for burnout.
Evidence indicates entrepreneurs have a greater risk of burnout because they tend to operate in high uncertainty with limited safety nets, often working in isolation. And burnout isn’t something to roll your eyes at. Research shows burnout can lead to heart disease, depression, and even death…not pleasant things.
According to a survey of 242 entrepreneurs, a substantial 49% admitted to having a mental-health condition. But the state of entrepreneurism isn’t likely to change, so what can small business owners do to avoid entrepreneur burnout?
First, entrepreneurs need to understand that burnout is a serious threat. They need to take a step back and make a down-to-earth analysis of their own mental health: are they feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, anxious, or stressed? All normal feelings for entrepreneurs, right? True, but if these symptoms are extreme and persistent they could indicate the early stages of burnout.
To combat burnout, entrepreneurs need to practice deliberate self-care. Simple acts like regular exercise, good night’s rest, and proper eating habits can do wonders for the mind and body!
Just 20 minutes of exercise 3x a week has been proven to increase energy levels by 20% and decrease fatigue by 65%. Getting more sleep can increase quality of work and reduce work-related errors, preventable errors that lead to frustration and the steep drop on the emotional entrepreneurial roller coaster. And nutrition plays an important part in your mental health too.
“Since burnout often includes weight gain, many people try to eat less as stress levels climb. Yet going hungry can itself be very stressful,” said Martha Beck, professional sociologist. “The solution: Eat more. Adding food with lots of antioxidants, water, fiber, and other nutrients can calm you and help your body relax.”
Take simple steps now to avoid the slippery slope that leads to entrepreneur burnout. Don’t wait until you’ve hit the wall to fight back—it’ll be much more difficult at that point. Entrepreneurism isn’t a weekend game – tend to your mental and physical health so you have the capacity to finish what you’ve started.