Covid-19 has brought countless changes to the traditional work climate, and some of these changes have led to burnout among professionals and entrepreneurs. Work-related exhaustion and stress have become a popular topic of discussion as workers experience the physical, mental and emotional impact of burnout.
Many Young Entrepreneur Council members are familiar with burnout and have come up with some strategies for coping with it. Below, eight of them offer their suggestions for professionals who want to start putting their health and happiness before their careers.
1. Take Time Off
Take days off even if you’re not going anywhere. We saw that people taking time off definitely dropped in the last 18 months when people were less likely to travel during the pandemic. We’ve encouraged employees to still take days off even if it’s just to sit at home and do nothing. Everyone needs time to rest and recharge, but remembering to do that when things feel stressful is hard. Talk to your direct support about when a good time would be for you to take a week off, then commit to actually taking that time off. – Kelsey Raymond, Influence & Co.
2. Make Activities You Enjoy Part Of Your Routine
Avoiding burnout means putting yourself first. One way to do this is to schedule one activity into your daily or weekly routine that gives you pleasure and recharges your batteries. For me, that means scheduling time to exercise every day for an hour—even if that means going for a long walk. Missing a day of exercise isn’t life-changing, but soon you’re skipping two, three and four days. You’re dragging yourself to work, disillusioned about your job, and you’re not sleeping well. You’re beginning to feel burned out. And then, I find, it’s much harder to get back into the routine of taking care of yourself. Instead of squeezing time in for yourself, set this time in your calendar at the beginning of each month and schedule work-related activities around your personal time. – Jared Weitz, United Capital Source Inc.
3. Track Progress Toward Three Personal Goals
Write down three key life goals that you want to focus on over the next few months that have nothing to do with work. Keep them in a journal that you look at first thing in the morning, as well as every night before bed. Write down, each night, how you’ve progressed toward realizing those goals. If you start putting your personal life first, you might notice a significant shift in your sense of well-being over time. Although it might not happen overnight, give it a few weeks. I bet you will feel much more motivated and fulfilled compared to how you felt when you were burned out. – Tyler Gallagher, Regal Assets
4. Adopt A 10/10/10 Routine
I own a criminal defense law firm, and when the pandemic and stay-at-home orders were in place, I had to make a lot of pivots in my business. The stress was overwhelming, and so I had to change the way I approached life and business in this new way of life where we stayed home more. I started doing a 10/10/10 routine where, before I start my day, I do 10 minutes of guided meditation and 10 minutes of journaling—which includes three things I’m grateful for, three things I like about myself, the three things I want to get done that day and some freestyle writing to get my thoughts on paper (pen to paper hits differently than a keyboard). Then, I end with 10 minutes of reading. I find that this practice keeps me grounded. I tend to feel off when I skip a day, even on weekends. – Givelle Lamano, Lamano Law Office
5. Separate Your Work From Your Personal Life
People need to put more effort into separating their work and personal lives. This has gotten even more difficult with the influx of remote work taking place in the home. Professionals need to try and maintain a separate chunk of the day for work time and one for family or relaxing time. For many, this requires the set up of a home office, where you are in work mode while in the room, but you drop it when you exit the room. Sometimes you may need to leave the cell phone behind in the home office as well. Whatever you can do to ensure you give your brain ample time to relax is a big help. Taking up a sport like Jiu-Jitsu can also be an excellent way to force your brain to switch modes for a few hours a day and for you to get in the physical exercise necessary for mental health. – Salvador Ordorica, The Spanish Group LLC
6. Avoid Pushing Yourself Too Hard
If you’re starting to feel burned out, you’re not alone. We are all feeling it to some degree. I think the most important lesson you should take away is this: Don’t feel bad that you need a little time to rest. If you keep pushing yourself when you’re already feeling run down, you may put yourself in a position where you have to take a long time off to recover from literal exhaustion. Don’t let it get to this point. Once you start feeling the twinges of burnout, consider taking a long weekend. – John Turner, SeedProd LLC
7. Make The Most Of Stepping Away
Make your time away count. Burnout is something I have had personal experience with. I started my journey as an entrepreneur fairly young. While I did build something I was proud of, I had a time of life when I was depressed about missing out on a more “normal” high school experience. So I did the hardest thing a business owner can do: I stepped back from my business. It wasn’t easy; however, when I returned with a fresh mind, I was able to take the business to new, bold heights. You don’t need a whole lot of recovery time. If you do it right, two weeks can be more than enough. If you only have two hours on a weekend, make them count, whether that’s with a run or a deep tissue massage or two hours with the most important people in your life. Things will get better and be sane again. – Tyler Bray, TK Trailer Parts
8. Learn To Say ‘No’
To prevent burnout and put your mental health first, commit to saying “no” more. You might feel pressured to always accommodate others and fulfill their requests, but this could put you in a stressful position. Instead, setting boundaries can be healthy for your mental well-being and a good work-life balance. If you’re asked to take on a new task or project but know you don’t have time in your schedule, don’t say “yes” for the sake of pleasing others. It’ll only hurt you. Be honest about your abilities and stand up for yourself when you need to. This will help you set the standard for how others treat you so you aren’t taken advantage of in the workplace. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms