How hard do you work?
If you’re anything like me, you work a lot. Building and running your own business is a very rewarding endeavour, but it’s also stressful and takes a lot of hard work. You don’t have to punch a clock, which means you can wake up and show up at pretty much any time you want. But it also means that because you never punch in, you also never really punch out. It’s easy for business to become a 24/7 mental exercise.
Of course, it doesn’t help that our smartphones follow us around everywhere and buzz every few minutes with a new communication of some sort. And since we’re conditioned to be at their beck and call and compulsively check the damn things, it becomes that much harder to relax, even for a few minutes.
But it’s more important than ever to take the time to relax! In fact, this recent article from Time shows that young adults are more stressed out than previous generations. Their numbers are American, but I’m sure us Canadians aren’t that far off the mark.
The last few months have been both the most stressful and the most hopeful of my life. Cloud Surfing Media is doing better than it has ever done, and for that I am truly grateful. But as a result, far more is expected of me than ever before. And now I find myself having to do more in less time in order to stay ahead of the curve.
It’s easy to experience professional burn out. Putting everything you have into something with the expectation that it will come back in the future is a gruelling and sometimes torturous task. The stress is sometimes overwhelming. But follow a few of these steps, and you might just stave off professional burn out long enough to become successful!
Take time to live in the moment
It’s funny, isn’t it? When you’re building a business you’re giving up some of your pleasure and freedom and banking it for a future date. After all, I was making more money before we started Cloud Surfing Media than when I took the plunge and jumped into it full time. So it’s easy to forget about your present happiness and focus on the future.
But this is a recipe for professional burn out! Neglecting your present happiness will make you feel mentally and emotionally drained, and you’ll end up sacrificing both your present AND your future happiness!
It’s great to dream about the future, and look forward to what could be. But don’t forget to take some time to enjoy your life right now. Go for a walk, do some meditation, or whatever helps you relax.
And while you’re at it…
Find a hobby
This is a big one for me. In the past, I used to de-stress by writing. But now writing has become one of the sources of my stress, so every time I start writing for pleasure I just feel burnt out even more! It’s forced me to become re-acquainted with some of my old hobbies, and develop some new ones. I rekindled my love affair with my drums, my guitar, philosophy, health and wellness, and wine.
These things help me de-stress at the end of the day. When I sit down behind my drums and hammer out a few tunes, it takes me to a place where I can leave my stress at the door, at least for a few minutes. This decompression time is crucial for mental clarity and to keep burn out from overwhelming you.
Don’t neglect your relationships
When your life becomes busier, it’s easy to start cutting out parts of your life which aren’t productive toward your business goals. And so you might find yourself seeing your friends less and less, and focusing more on the work which needs to get done.
Isolating yourself in your work can be helpful for a short period of time, but it’s those relationships which can sustain you through the most stressful times in your life. Human beings are social creatures by nature, and it’s easy to feel burnt out and even severe anxiety if you’re alone.
Take Care of Yourself!
When your body is in a state of optimal health, it’s much better equipped to stave off professional burn out.
You might not even realize you have a health issue, too, until you start taking steps to be healthier. Eating a clean diet of whole foods like organic fruits, vegetables, grass-fed meats, and nuts & seeds, can go a long way toward helping you feel better.
Research has also shown that physical exercise has a lot to do with stress. In fact, an article from the world renowned Mayo Clinic lists some fantastic reasons why exercise can help you eliminate stress.
And if you’re in a creative slump, exercise can actually help inspire creativity as well!
Hire A Team!
How much time are you devoting to each aspect of your business? Are you trying to learn how to do everything yourself?
In the short term, this might mean you spend a bit less on your business operation, but it will also end up stressing you out beyond belief!
And on top of that, the work you need to get done won’t even get done properly. After all, you can’t possibly do the job of 10 people as efficiently as you could one job.
When you have so many jobs to do, you’ll end up cutting corners in your work. That leads to subpar results, every time!
Now, if you’re running a startup, sometimes this is necessary. Sometimes you need to work obscenely long hours to get any momentum going on your business. But once it’s off the ground and you’re making a profit, you’re faced with a choice.
You can continue to do everything yourself, working far harder than you need to. But this isn’t sustainable, and you’ll end up burning yourself quickly.
Or, you can start building a team to take care of some of those jobs for you, get them done at a higher level, and take some time for yourself to relax!
Accounting, legal compliance, marketing, and day-to-day grunt work aren’t things that NEED to be done by you. You have a budget, and you can use that to buy yourself some personal time.
The End of Professional Burn Out!
Stress can be a killer, and burn out can show up at the worst time. WebMD has an article which shows some of the major health issues which stress can cause.
If you want to avoid these and other ailments (and really, who doesn’t?), it’s important to take time to relax and actually enjoy your life. And following the above steps can go a long way toward accomplishing just that.