The World Health Organization recently updated the definition of burnout under ICD-11 for Mortality and Morbidity Statistics. Burnout is now defined as a “syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”
The characteristics surrounding burnout are not unfamiliar-sounding ones. Signs include feelings of exhaustion, feelings of negativity toward one’s job, an increased mental distancing from the position, and a lack of productivity and efficacy.
The World Health Organization notes that the phenomena of burnout applies specifically to the occupational context. Previously, burnout was defined as somewhere between not being able to do work while not being sick in a traditional sense. The updated definition is now recognized as a legitimate syndrome.
Countless individuals, from full-time employees to entrepreneurs, suffer from workplace-related stress — wait, hold on. What about entrepreneurs? These are the same individuals that exit jobs to pursue their passions and become their own bosses. While small business owners are reported to have a strong outlook for 2019, they have to be careful they do not suffer symptoms of burnout syndrome.
If an entrepreneur finds that he or she is suffering from burnout, what’s the best thing they can do to remedy the situation?
Entrepreneurs tend to maintain a go-go-go pace with their startups. This is particularly true of the early days in business. Every day is a make or break moment as the entrepreneur focuses on increasing revenue, building brand awareness and growing their customer base. They are pulling out every stop possible to sustain the business. Self-care gets shelved for later. The small business needs to be the top priority.
Being “on” for the unforeseeable future isn’t a long-term strategy. If anything, it paves a faster road to burnout — made all the more unfortunate because that means burning out on your dreams. Dial your small business down from eleven. Wait to send a thoughtfully written email instead of responding within seconds. Loosely schedule your workday so you have room for last-minute meetings or extra time to complete a project. Slowing down doesn’t mean you have stopped moving completely. It simply means you’re focusing on taking the workload in at your own pace.
Reevaluate where you are in all aspects of life.
We’re midway through 2019, which is the perfect time to evaluate your current situation. Where is your company right now? Did your business hit any goals you set for it this year? Odds are that your business is on the right track, but probably needs to re-strategize a few priorities. Evaluate what has been working and what hasn’t for the startup. This will help you plan to do more of what works and provides strong ROI for the startup versus sticking with tired tactics.
Don’t forget the owner of the business either. Are you where you want to be physically, mentally or financially? Chances are you may feel a bit unfulfilled in at least one area. This doesn’t constitute as burnout, however, if you are working toward a goal. If there is significant progress being made, you are still growing and on the right path forward. Professional and personal alike, don’t lose sight of your goals.
Consult a professional for help.
Burnout remedies vary for everyone. What works for me, like taking Pilates, may not work for someone else. There’s also the issue of trying out everything, from meditation to switching your diet, and hitting a wall. This leads to (reasonable) frustration. You tried everything advised to defeat stress and it still caught up with you. What can you do now?
The next best move you can make is seeking professional help. Burnout is now classified as a syndrome, and it’s critical to consult a therapist or another licensed professional. You may do this if you are currently experiencing burnout or feel like you’re on the edge toward it.
Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness. See what you’re doing as a proactive decision. Make an appointment and talk about how you’re feeling. Opening up will allow you to uncover what’s truly troubling you and find solutions that work for you and help keep you growing and moving towards your dreams.