In this day and age, “hustle” culture has been glamorized, but there’s nothing cool about being on the brink of burnout. Entrepreneurs and leaders are often encouraged to rise and grind, but what happens when you’ve run yourself into the ground? Let’s look at the symptoms here — and the antidote!
1. You begin to resent your work.
When you first stepped into the role you have now, more than likely, there was pep in your step. Over time, it’s not hard to get bogged down with deadlines, the desire to perform well, and just doing the best you can to ensure your organization’s success. If you wake up dreading to do the thing you once looked forward to, you’ve reached the point where it’s time to step back.
2. You lack motivation, even to do the things you enjoy.
It’s often said that when you do work that you love, you never have to work a day in your life — but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Although you enjoy running your business or leading your organization, you absolutely will have to work, and at times it may get tough. When you’re no longer motivated to step up and lead, it’s time to hit refresh.
3. Your social life is nonexistent.
As an entrepreneur and leader, you will miss personal events sometimes. Weddings, birthday parties, you name it. However, this should not become your norm. While your work is important, it’s not more important than being there for your loved ones. During the global pandemic, we’ve learned extensively just how precious life is and how much our family and friends mean to us. If you’ve reached the point where all you have time for is work, begin to reevaluate your schedule.
4. You’re tired all the time.
No matter how much sleep you’ve gotten, if you never feel rested, that’s an indicator that your body is exhausted. You might be tired even if you haven’t exerted that much energy because you’re not just physically tired, you’re mentally drained as well.
5. Your health is declining.
When you work nonstop, your body has a way of shutting you down well before you decide to do so. If you start to feel sick more often than usual, take notice; your body is trying to get your attention, and it would behoove you to make the necessary changes.
Now that we’ve identified the signs you need a break, here’s what you need to do:
Sometimes we say “yes” to things because we don’t want to let others down or because we want to prove a point to others and to ourselves that we can complete whatever comes our way. If you have a hard time taking a break, start implementing boundaries that encourage work-life harmony.
According to Forbes, “Setting healthy boundaries is part of self-care and self-respect and should help form the base of your own personal leadership,” says Sahar Andrade, author of “The Importance of Setting Healthy Boundaries.” “It is being assertive without the need for being aggressive. Healthy boundaries can help you define your uniqueness and your core. Saying no assertively to a new commitment means you are honoring your existing ones. Boundaries are not just about getting what you want. It’s about you getting to live your life on your own terms.”
Make time for fun.
What good is your hard work if you can’t enjoy the fruits of your labor? As a leader or entrepreneur, you have to refuel. You’re not a machine and you’re not programmed to work all the time without resting. Even God made time to rest after six days of creating the heavens and the earth. See Genesis 2:3.
Yes, you read that right. Because we’re so used to being on the go or “busy” all the time, we don’t really know how to enjoy the gift of doing nothing. It’s OK to lay in bed a little longer or spend time binging a show on Netflix. Give your brain a break and take time to relax.
“Trust that you’ll get back to it. Have faith that if you chill for a bit, the whole world won’t come crumbling down,” says Shondaland.com writer Tracy Chabala. “Because the truth is we always have things we could be doing — if you wait until your to-do list or reading list is at zero, you’ll never find a moment to do nothing.”
Prioritize your health.
When you work nonstop, you’re more likely to eat unhealthy food or not get enough sleep. In addition to getting eight hours of shut-eye, be sure to get in a workout and prepare meals that will truly sustain and empower you throughout the day.
“When individuals make the effort to prioritize fitness, nutrition, and sleep, brainpower is boosted, stress reduced, and work performance is improved, along with overall health and moods,” says Moe Kittaneh, CFO and co-founder of One Mall Group.
Stay committed to making a change.
Now that you know the signs, it’s on you to make a shift. During our ILS Virtual Experience, T.D. Jakes spoke on “The Forensics of Greatness” and highlighted the importance of having “good bones.” Not in the literal sense, but good bones in having the foundation of a leader, the strong base of an entrepreneur. When you do, you hold the power to make some changes. Learn how to rewatch this powerful session at ThisIsILS.org!