Simple Ways to Beat the Work Burnout STAT
“Ugh, I had insomnia again last night.”
“Let it go to voicemail – I can’t deal with him right now.”
“Why is everyone so annoying?”
“I couldn’t care less.”
We’ve all said stuff like that at one time or another. Who hasn’t had a phone call they desperately wanted to dodge? The problem is when you find yourself saying all of those things repeatedly.
Entrepreneur burn-out is real. There’s only so many 80 hour work weeks you can put in before your body and mind start giving you the “low fuel” warning.
People underestimate how many hours we’re actually putting in. The time you spend at your workplace is just the beginning. Think you’re working a 40-hour work week because you adhere to a strict “go home at 5:00” policy? Try tracking how much time you’re tethered to your computer once you get home. Answering those emails you didn’t get to during the day? Preparing for the workday tomorrow? The hours add up.
You might think that you can power through this slump – after all, it’s just mental, right? Unfortunately, the anxiety that accompanies burnout can lead to all sorts of ailments from herpes and hair loss to headaches and gum disease.
But burnout isn’t necessarily a permanent condition and it definitely isn’t unique to you. You can recover the joy in your work that motivated you in the beginning.
When You Don’t Feel Like Exercising Is Exactly When You Should.
When time becomes scarce and energy low, one of the first things people do is drop their exercise regimen. Bad choice. Physical activity increases your endorphin production which boosts your feeling of well-being.
You don’t need to sign up for a marathon, either. Yoga, walking, and Tai Chi are all low-impact ways to exercise with the added benefit of being able to practice them anywhere, any time.
If you’re no longer able to put in those 90 minute spin classes anymore, don’t beat yourself up. Concentrate on your overall health, not just your abs.
Stop Eating Crap!
We’re not going to try and tell you to not eat at your desk. During crunch time, the idea of a lunch hour is a joke, and dinner time usually involves a fork in your left hand while typing with your right. (If that sounds like you, you may want to invest with in a quality keyboard cover).
Just because you don’t have the time for fine-dining doesn’t give you license to live on Hot Pockets and popcorn. Refined carbohydrates—the kind found in white rice, sugar, and pasta—are a serious drag on your metabolism. Consuming these simple carbs means you’ll be distracted more easily and have multiple energy slumps throughout the day.
Talk to Other Entrepreneurs
You’re not alone. Sometimes the hardest part of being an entrepreneur is all the time you spend working alone. Surrounding yourself with people who understand how it feels, or have conquered the same problems, is a great stress-buster.
There are over 16,000 entrepreneurship groups on MeetUp.com—join one now!
Your brain is not an iPhone—you can’t keep it running 24/7 then just charge it up when it’s drained. The idea that you can go non-stop and then use the weekend to catch up on sleep is a myth.
Counter-intuitively, you CAN “store up” sleep (to a degree). Researchers have found that people who caught extra ZZZ’s over the course of a week are better able to perform tasks while sleep deprived the following week than people who don’t bank sleep.
So if you know you’ve got a killer week coming up, prepare accordingly. Power down the computer, close Snapchat, and turn out the lights.
“Taking a Break” doesn’t mean “Giving Up”
For some reason it’s perfectly acceptable for professionals to go on sabbatical in order to write a book or conduct research, but anyone who takes extended leave to re-invigorate herself is made to feel like she’s running away from her responsibilities.
The fact of the matter is that evaluating your goals and renewing your drive is part of your work. It’s a crucial component in broadening creative horizons and often leads to important breakthroughs.
Not convinced? Look no further than your desk drawer. Art Fry, the inventor of the ubiquitous Post-it Note came up with the award-winning product while on paid leave that his employer 3M has offered to its engineers since the 1930’s.
Check out design legend Stefan Sagmeister‘s popular TED talk: “The Power of Time Off” (video below) to see how the most innovative leaders in industries from haute-cuisine to technology plan structured time-off from their companies to ensure creative growth.
There’s a tendency in our success-at-all-costs society to put winning before self-fulfillment. But the best leaders know that these two things actually go hand in hand. Any cheap jalopy can defeat the best engineered car in the world if that car has no of gas. Making sure your tank is full should be part of your winning business strategy.