Three weeks back, I made a comment to my gym partner “Something is wrong with me, I feel like my body is falling apart. My lower and upper back are in pain, my shoulder hurts, my knees are stiff – I don’t what is wrong.” Her response was: “When did you last take a break? You could be about to burnout.” Sometimes you feel like you can’t afford any time out – but I also realised that I couldn’t afford not to give myself a break. Here are some of the signs you might have from overwork, and how to avoid them.
“Burnout can be defined as a loss of enthusiasm, energy, idealism, perspective, and purpose; it has been described as trying to run a marathon at full speed.” Kathleen A. Kendall-Tackett
Because of the nature of start-up business models with big dreams, entrepreneurs run a high risk of burnout, often being on-demand 24/7. In this interview with Psychotherapist, Jade Barclay, she says of burnout; “With entrepreneurs, it’s more likely to show up in the body than in the job… It was common to have people say, “My body just completely shut down. I couldn’t work anymore.”
You may be functioning while running your business, but if you are experiencing back pain, eye strain, or any persistent physical ailment, have yourself checked out by a doctor. Don’t underestimate the seriousness of this, if it’s your company you’re worried about it is yourself you need to take care of first.
“Leadership is an active role; ‘lead’ is a verb. But the leader who tries to do it all is headed for burnout, and in a powerful hurry.“Bill Owens
Entrepreneurs are their own managers – with no one monitoring the long hours we work or our health. Not only that, we are also the key decision makers which, over time, can take a toll on our ability to problem-solve and be efficient.
At Matoyana we are advocators of finding a business mentoror coach. A strong mentor is a great sounding board – someone who can advise on the big picture, as well as being an impartial judge on how you are coping with running your business. Practically and psychologically, having a mentor can help you run life more effectively.
“Burnout is a way of telling you that your form of activism was perhaps not very full circle.” Gloria Steinem
“To keep our body in good health is a duty…Otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.” Buddha
Although we know what is good for us and what helps us function most productively, when there is a lot of work-stress, the things that keep us healthy fall by the wayside. We at Matoyana invest in ourselves first by exercising regularly and eating healthy. We see this as the most crucial investment in our business.So, take care of your body, it is your most important business asset.Make time to eat well, sleep well, and exercise.
“To be self-compassionate is not to be self-indulgent or self-centred.” Christopher Dines
Practicing self-compassion will go a long way towards reviving your passion for business and life. This can include journaling in the morning, taking note of the things you’re grateful for and what inspires you. Also having an inspirational book or two at your bedside to dip into before you go to sleep can help with creative thinking and shifting perspective. We recommend Tools of Titans by Tim Ferris and Big Magic by Elisabeth Gilbert.
A big part of self-compassion is also about forgiving yourself when things don’t go according to plan – moving on as quickly as possible with as little self-recrimination as possible.
“Burnout…occurs because we’re trying to solve the same problem over and over.” Susan Scott
“By refreshing our sense of belonging in the world, we widen the web of relationships that nourishes us and protects us from burnout.” Joanna Macy & Chris Johnstone
When last did you have a real holiday? With the phone switched off and a digital detox? How often have you thought of weekends and public holidays as a chance to catch-up on work related things while it is “quiet”? We are all guilty of doing it, but no break from work will have negative repercussions on you and your business. Make it part of your business model to schedule holiday-time for yourself.
Good luck and feel free to get in touch with us if you need any further business support.
Contact:Nokwazi Mzobe, Founder of Matoyana
Matoyana is passionate about creating and supporting sustainable entrepreneurs on the African continent. Since 2013 Matoyana has interacted with over 1000 entrepreneurs though various projects and initiatives. We provide personalised support which is tailored to meet our client’s business needs.