Small Business: 5 ways to Bounce Back from Burnout

Have you noticed lately that you’re…

  • More skeptical, critical, or irritable when working with your team?
  • Impatient with clients?
  • Having trouble concentrating?
  • Feeling unsatisfied with your accomplishments no matter how great they are?
  • Sleeping poorly?

These are all signs of burnout.

Although burnout itself isn’t a medical condition, it can increase your risk of serious health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and immune deficiency. It’s important to take recovering from burnout as seriously as recovering from any illness.

Of course, it’s much easier said than done. Here are five ways you can bounce back from burnout as a business owner.

Get More Sleep

“Power naps” got their name for a reason. Sleep gives both your mind and body a chance to rest so you can start the day feeling refreshed and ready to give it your all. It can be tempting to cut back on sleep to get more done, but working like that simply isn’t sustainable. Even worse, you’ll find that the quality of your work declines significantly when you’re sleep-deprived.

If it still seems hard to make the case for sleeping more, think of it this way: getting a full night’s sleep will help you be better at your work. It increases your creativity, problem-solving ability, and overall mental wellbeing. You’ll also find yourself being a more empathic and patient  leader who can motivate your team to do their best work.

Practice Mindfulness

Ever feel like you can’t relax, or can’t enjoy your current task, because you’re busy thinking about other projects?

Take time to be present in the current moment, without worrying about the future or mulling over the past. An easy way to put this into practice is to say to yourself what you’re doing, either verbally or mentally.

Example: “I am typing at my computer. I am looking at the screen. I am sitting in a chair with my feet on the floor. I feel my clothing against my skin. I hear the sounds of birds outside.” And so on. Just go through all five senses, really paying attention to what you’re experiencing through each one.

Do Something Relaxing

It sounds obvious, but– like sleep– fun and relaxation are often the first things to be cut when you find yourself in a busy period. But it’s vital to take time for yourself and the activities that bring you joy.

It may not be realistic to take an hour or afternoon off to relax, but even quick 10-minute “fun breaks” can help keep you energized throughout the day and help you bounce back from burnout. Build time into your day for quick activities like meditation, yoga, reading a favorite book, drawing, or anything else that helps you unwind.

Cut Unnecessary Commitments

Sometimes burnout is just caused by doing too much. Entrepreneurship requires a can-do attitude, grit, determination, and a willingness to push through difficult times. But successful business owners also recognize when they’ve simply overcommitted themselves and need to dial things back.

Cut unnecessary commitments. Are there meetings you can replace by sending an email or pre-recorded video instead? Do you really “need” to go to an upcoming networking event, or is there a similar event where you could make the same types of connections in a month or two?

Take an honest look at your calendar and to-list to see what can be tossed out, delegated, or completed at a later date. Really ask yourself, “Will the world end if I don’t do this right now? Will my business close its doors if I pass up this opportunity?” For 90% of commitments, the answer is, “Probably not.”

Remember not to cut out commitments related to self-care, like sleep or relaxation activities.

Renegotiate All the Other Commitments

There will be times where it isn’t possible to remove a commitment altogether. In those cases, your best bet is simply to renegotiate the terms of the commitment. That’s one of the benefits of being a business owner: you’re in charge, so you can decide the terms.

Ask for More Time

 
You’d be surprised how often customers are willing to give you more time for a project if you simply ask. You don’t need to cite burnout or provide any other reason. But if you really feel you must offer some kind of explanation, just inform them that the product or service you’re providing will require more time than expected and work out a later delivery date that is feasible. Nine times out of ten, your customers will prefer to find a workable solution than spend the time and effort finding another vendor.

Push Back Start Dates

 
If you have projects in a pipeline down the road, just move the start date to a later time. Again, if you feel compelled to give an explanation, you can indicate to your customers that the later start time will help ensure they get the highest-quality deliverable and first-rate service in the interim.

The Nuclear Option: Cancel Commitments

 
Although it’s not the best option, it’s important to remember that cancelling commitments is still an option. Sometimes you just have to clear your calendar and cancel all your commitments for the next quarter while you take time to recover from severe burnout.

The key is ensuring your customers aren’t left in limbo. Refer them to another supplier or service provider who can help them while you focus on taking care of your mental and physical wellbeing.

As long as you handle the cancellation professionally and courteously, you’re unlikely to burn bridges. Chances are, when you return from a hiatus, your customers will still want to work with you and come back in droves when you’re ready to take their business again.

The Bottom Line

Growing your business shouldn’t come at the cost of your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. There are times you’ll have to work 12-hour days, late nights, and make sacrifices. But it’s important to recognize burnout and take steps to heal from it. You’ll find that you not only feel happier but also do better work, collaborate more effectively with your team, and overall provide better service to your customers.

Want to Join a Supportive Community?

EnrichHER is here to support you on your journey. We provide a community of founders from various industries who understand the challenges and joys of entrepreneurship. This diverse community can offer advice, emotional support, and connections to help you take your business to the next level– and it’s only a click away.

Sound like the right community for you? Join EnrichHER’s Founder LinkedIn Group here.

About EnrichHER:

EnrichHER is a financial technology platform that matches revenue-generating companies led by women and founders of color to individual and institutional sources of funding. Since 2017, EnrichHER has deployed upwards of $4 million through its platform and matched business-owners to $13 million in working capital through its Accelerator. By providing capital, coaching, and connections, we are fueling the fastest-growing demographic of business owners. Our network has engaged with over 23,000 advocates through its digital community and in-person activations.

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