Article contributed by Julie Morris, Life and Career Coach
Being an entrepreneur means your work doesn’t begin and end with the nine-to-five grind. However, you can’t run on all cylinders each and every day. While a certain amount of stress is healthy, if you don’t take time for yourself, you run the risk of burnout. Burnout can manifest in many ways, none of them conducive to reaching your goals. You may find yourself chronically fatigued but suffering from severe bouts of insomnia. Others experience cognitive decline, as they find it harder to pay attention and remember details. Burnout can show itself through physical symptoms such as chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, gastrointestinal pain, fainting, dizziness, and headaches. You may experience a weakened immune system or lack of appetite. For many people, the symptoms of burnout are indistinguishable from those of depression and anxiety — loss of interest, irritability, and difficulty controlling worries or fears.
When it comes to mental illnesses like burnout, prevention is always easier than fixing symptoms as they are realized. Taking the time to manage stress and relax outside of work is important for busy professionals, especially if you’re running a business from home. There has to be a balance between your work and home lives to keep the mind focused and prevent unnecessary, stressful thoughts. Beyond establishing a dedicated workspace, it’s important to be mindful of the hours worked. No, you don’t need to be strapped to your desk for a straight eight hours every day, but establishing times for work and times for relaxation will help you stay on top of your responsibilities while allowing for time to unwind and enjoy life.
Here are other easy ways busy entrepreneurs can reduce stress and have a better work/life balance as they head into the new year.
Develop a Sleep Routine
The secret to a great night’s sleep has nothing to do with a magic mattress or the perfect pill you can take. If you want a restful sleep each and every night, you have to be consistent with a bedtime routine that signals to your body that it’s time to wind down. Your body runs on a circadian rhythm that is easily disturbed by outside forces including light, stress, and a lack of activity. Help your body ease into its necessary state at night by preparing your sleep environment and engaging in activities that alleviate anxieties and help you feel tired.
Hire a Housekeeping Service
If you run a business from home, having a clean and organized environment is of paramount importance. Clutter and mess feed into unproductive feelings such as anxiety and depression. If your home is out of sorts, you have a harder time staying focused on work when you’re on the clock and then you spend all your free time tidying up. If you’re a clean freak who enjoys scrubbing away grime for fun, by all means, continue to do so. However, if you’d rather spend your free time with family and friends, consider hiring a housekeeping service for your own benefit. It’s a small price to pay for the well-being of your mental health.
Delegate More Often
It’s your business and you have clear ideas on what you want from it, but this, of course, doesn’t mean that nobody else is capable of lightening the load your bear. Delegating work is difficult for a lot of type A people. However, it’s a necessary part of building a successful business. After all, you can’t do everything yourself, and doling out new tasks to employees gives them the opportunity to professionally grow along with your business. This year, commit to giving away more items on your to-do list to people who can help.
Burnout can get in the way of an entrepreneur’s goals. That’s why it’s so important to reduce stress and create a more harmonious work/life balance. Little things like getting better sleep via a bedtime routine, doling out cash for a cleaner environment, and committing to asking for help when you need it can help mitigate anxiety while keeping entrepreneurs sharp and ready to tackle the next challenge their business throws at them.