According to the American Institute of Stress, job stress has escalated significantly in the last few decades, and it’s dangerous. Stress can cause a variety of emotional and physical health problems, ranging from memory loss to high blood pressure to a weakened immune system. This is a national problem, with eight in ten Americans feeling stressed “frequently” or “sometimes” in their daily lives.
It’s no surprise, then, that entrepreneurs are some of the most hard-hit. It’s easy to get burnt out as an entrepreneur because there’s pressure coming from all sides: raising enough money for that first round of funding, balancing work and family, and losing sleep when the company is in trouble.
If you’re worried you’re close to burning out or want to implement strategies to avoid it in the first place, here are some dangers to avoid.
1 Long hours
As an entrepreneur, it’s easy to spend too many hours at work. Whether you’re spending your weekends writing up business plans or meeting with clients during lunch breaks instead of eating, this will eventually take its toll. You need breaks; otherwise, you’ll lose your focus and worse, control of your business.
2 Burdening yourself
As a business leader, it can be easy to make the mistake of putting the weight of all your responsibilities on your shoulders. Especially if you’re running a new business, it’s scary to let go of something you’ve been thinking about so long and have finally made a reality. But delegating is important. It will help you let go and is the right move for a growing company. 58 percent of Americans say work was a significant source of stress in 2017, so you’re not alone.
3 Lack of sleep
One of the greatest dangers for anyone in business is losing sleep. It’s easy to forgo the recommended seven or more hours a night when there are stressors preventing sleep, as well as other causes of sleep deprivation such as jet lag and long commutes. But this will quickly exhaust you, which is bad both for you and for business. According to Elysia Cronheim, a Personal Trainer at NYHRC 23rd Street, says “Sleep is essential because it...helps with chemical and hormonal balances…[T]here’s only one solution – rest.”
Loneliness is another big risk that entrepreneurs face. Even if you have a whole team working with you in the office, it can feel like you’re facing your company’s biggest challenges alone (especially if it was your savings that went into starting the company). If you’re working as a freelancer, or with a remote team, feeling isolated is a danger, too. To battle this feeling that can lead to depression and demotivation, spend more time with your family and friends after work. And spend some time at co-working retreats.
5 Mood swings
According to entrepreneur Marc Andreessen, “a start-up puts you on an emotional rollercoaster, unlike anything you have ever experienced. You flip rapidly from day-to-day — one where you are euphorically convinced you are going to own the world, to a day in which doom seems only weeks away and you feel completely ruined, and back again.” Mood swings are emotionally exhausting, which can take quite a toll. As a solution consider speaking with a therapist or taking regular breaks to do what you love.
6 Physical exhaustion
If you’re running back and forth across the city for meetings with prospective clients, or spending hours finding the perfect office space--all while building your business from the ground up--you might end up feeling physically exhausted at the end of the day. The fact is, your body can only take so much, and you can lose focus on what counts after a while. So take breaks, and use your weekends to relax.
7 Social media addiction
When you’re running a business that means a lot to you, it can be easy to take everything personally, both successes and failures. You start looking for validation, and these days, the search for validation goes hand in hand with a social media addiction. If you find yourself spending too many hours on Instagram or Facebook, consider a social media detox. Two-thirds of US adults are Facebook users, so there’s no shame--but it’s time to make a change if you have a problem.
8 Lack of exercise
Because entrepreneurs spend so much time sitting in front of their laptops and organizing their lives, they often don’t make time for exercise. But it’s an essential part of being an entrepreneur--and if you’re experiencing any of these additional problems, it’s a quick fix of endorphins that will help you re-focus. More than half of Americans are now getting the recommended amount of exercise, so it’s time to join that trend.
9 Poor diet
Just like exercise, it can be easy to neglect what you’re eating when you’re so busy. But if you’re feeling sluggish and your energy levels are drained by the end of the workday, it may be because of what you’re eating. This will inevitably affect your work endurance, so start keeping track of what you eat to stay healthy.
When the excitement of a new business idea wears off, you may suddenly find yourself bored at work. Writing up a whitepaper is one thing; managing the logistics of getting the right signatures for a document is quite another. If you find yourself getting bored at work, plan some work breaks and remind yourself of what excited you about your business in the first place.
Entrepreneurs face many challenges day to day, but one of the greatest is burnout. Find out what solutions work for you, and remember to check in with yourself at the end of every week to see how you’re feeling.
Have you ever experienced burnout? How did you resolve the issue?