Burnout is caused by excessive or prolonged stress that eventually causes emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion. Unchecked burnout can lead to a mental health crisis and physical health problems And, women report symptoms of burnout at a higher rate than men. Because burnout is gradual, and does not happen overnight, you can easily miss the early signs However, if you are a woman business owner and you catch it early, you can do something about it.
According to a Gallop study conducted in January 2020, burnout is reaching crisis levels for full time workers.
“Nearly 7,500 full-time employees found that 23% of employees reported feeling burned out at work very often or always, while an additional 44% reported feeling burned out sometimes. That means about two-thirds of full-time workers experience burnout on the job.”“Employee Burnout Main Causes” Gallup
That is a huge amount of the workforce! And that was before the world experienced a global pandemic. I’m sure the numbers are skyrocketing! You can deal with burnout if you recognize the early warning signs. But many women are not aware of how their bodies deal with stress and cannot recognize the signals.
How to Recognize Burnout
If burnout is caused by prolonged stress, then the solution is to deal better with your stress. Your body will give you clues if the stress levels has become unmanageable. These are some symptoms to look for.
- Mental exhaustion
- Unmotivated (especially if you were easily motivated in the past)
- Critical or cynical thinking or behavior
- Increase irritation or irritability with customers, clients, or staff
- Using unhealthy coping mechanisms to make yourself feel better (food, alcohol, shopping, binge watching Netflix, etc.)
- Unexplained headaches, stomachaches, or bowel problems
If you said yes to 2 or more of these symptoms, it is time to tackle the coming burnout. And quickly.
“People who used to be happy, motivated, friendly, and engaging become withdrawn, cranky, and disengaged from coworkers and clients or patients, as a result of prolonged work stress and the resulting burnout.”Susan Biali Haas M.D.
Dealing with Burnout as a Woman Business Owner
There are three steps you can take if you are a business owner dealing with burnout. They are not hard, but they might feel drastic. But your life and business depend on your acting quickly. Here is how.
1. Celebrate Your victories
We can get tunnel vision in the day-in day-out tasks of building a business. That habit will lead to burnout very quickly. You must celebrate your victories. Especially the small ones that seem like they could be failures. For example, you sold two products when your goal was to sell 20. Celebrate those 2 sales! It will keep you excited and motivated instead of burnt out.
2. Take Time Off
Women Business Owners often forget that taking time off is critical to avoid burnout. You can’t keep your nose to the grindstone and expect to not feel burnout eventually. Get in the habit of taking time off and blocking vacation time on your calendar. Even if you don’t go anywhere. You need to take your eyes off your business once in awhile and recharge.
3. Set Work Hours
One of the first things I have my coaching clients do is set business hours. So many of them are working way too much or too sporadic to see any progress. There is no right amount to work. The magic is in the consistent work hours. Once those hours are set and adhered too, you can create better boundaries around your life and business.
Burnout is common. But it does not have to cause emotional, mental, or physical health problems if you recognize it early. Know the symptoms so you are aware of what burnout looks like. And, if you recognize the signs of burnout choose to deal with it quickly. Celebrate your victories, take time off, and set those work hours and you will be able to recognize and deal with burnout early!
With grace and grit,
Before you go, here are three ways to stay in touch:
- Follow Raychel on her favorite social media platform, Instagram.
- Subscribe to the She Who Overcomes Podcast on iTunes or wherever you listen to podcasts. Co-hosted by Raychel Perman and Mandy B. Anderson, She Who Overcomes is a weekly series of real-life stories and conversations that provides the listener with hope and action steps to transform your life, leadership, and career.
- Join the Tribe of Overcomers Facebook Group for weekly motivation and interaction!