Many of us don’t realize when we hit burnout. It slowly creeps up on us without knowing and can be life and business changing. You may notice some signs of burnout like a massive shift in your energy, lack of motivation, loss of interest in your business and life. You may even crave sleep but just cannot seem to get a good night’s rest.
In today’s society, it has become quite normal to be chronically stressed out. We stay up late working on projects or tidying up our homes and those of us who have a strong drive for success in business, and even a perfectionist mind, may end up living with chronic stress that leads to burnout.
As a fitness professional who works with women, it is common for my clients and other women entrepreneurs to be burning the candle at both ends. Women in business are often type A personalities, have a big drive and passion for their business and try to do it all in business, life, plus taking care of everyone else’s needs but our own. Then when there are more demands placed, like in an upcoming launch or a big project deadline, they have too many things on their to-do list and try to do them all. The stress eventually piles up and for some, leads to burn out.
When we don’t have the capacity for more, we may find If we continue to push the limits in our business without taking necessary fundamental steps for ourselves, our health and thus, success in our business could be on the line.
Failing to pay attention to our bodies’ needs first, may lead us to insomnia, lack of focus, depression, anger, lack of joy and thoughts of ideation or a host of other chronic health conditions.
I have worked with many people who have hit rock bottom. Both successful women and men who were close to giving up. Unfortunately, the story of burnout hits very close to home with a family member hitting burnout shortly after retirement.
The good news, is there are some extremely easy fixes, as long as you can make time for them.
So what is a busy, business woman to do?
Here are the 5 non-negotiables to avoid burnout in business and life.
1 – Movement
Our bodies need movement, EVERY SINGLE DAY. I know this may seem hard for some but the reality is, if your body isn’t moving then we open up a host of health conditions. This may pose difficulties if you are working on a launch or require hours of sitting at a desk for writing. But taking doses of movement will not only do your body good it can also release positive endorphins and more clarity and focus to step back into your business. Find some time each and every day to move, for your body, mind, and business. I’ve turned to quick home workouts on busy days where there is just no time to hit the gym or a class. Try this easy all levels workout to fill your daily movement needs.
2 – Nature
A dose of fresh air is one of the best gifts you can give yourself. Try to find a local trail or a park to sit and listen to the birds, or even go for a run, ride or if you are lucky enough to live where it’s warm and there is water, spend some time in it. Nature has an incredible ability to help relieve unwanted stress and just be. It’s a place you can find clarity in your mind and even your business. I often find myself at the local trail when I have a pressing deadline and need some new inspiration, or focus to finish a task. The next time you find yourself worried, stressed, overwhelmed or have too much on your plate. Put it all down and get into nature. There really is a dose of magic you can find and taking this sacred time for you while keeping you sane, content, and more creative.
3 – Eating Healthy Foods
Ok, we all know that eating healthy foods is important. But when we are stressed our body instantly craves alcohol, sugar, carbs and comfort foods. The problem with this is that if this becomes a habit, our hormones may become unbalanced, we may have trouble staying focused, having the energy to keep up with the demands of business and just not feeling well overall. One of the best ways to give yourself better energy and overall health is switching to a whole foods diet. This requires some planning and preparation, or as a last resort getting healthy take out (thankfully this now exists at places like freshii or even the salad bar at your local grocery store). Eating whole foods gives your body more nutrients filled with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Our body thrives on these nutrients and at times of stress can boost your immune system to fight off colds and other sicknesses which tends to happen after periods of high stress.
4 – Sleep
You know that saying, sleep is for the weak? Well, it is not true. In fact, most women in business, whether it is full or part-time, are lacking in this area of basic human needs. Our body needs 7-9 hours of sleep each night to be able to function. Sure, if you have a pressing deadline you could lose a few hours here and there (note: you cannot get them back). But lack of adequate sleep can cause many chronic conditions, let alone not being able to function. We have a basic need for sleep and if we don’t get it can be detrimental to our health. Do yourself a favor. Shut down your work, turn off your phone, and settle in before 10pm for a solid night’s sleep. Don’t spend too many late nights burning the midnight oil, or your health will fall victim in some way or another.
5 – Restorative Activities
As someone who nails all the other ones on most weeks, I have come to notice a major need for this last one on a regular basis. I am instantly drawn to activities that give me instant gratification, like a workout or even getting out for a run. Most women in business do as well. But, slowing down, becoming present and aware may be what your body really needs. In fact, I’ll go as far as saying, even if you have all the other ones down, restorative activities may be the missing link you need to avoid burnout. This is because restorative activities help to slow down your nervous system. Why is this important? If you are living with stress, or even have a busy mind, your body is constantly in a state of fight or flight – which shallows the breath, elevates our heart rate and blood pressure, and keeps your body in a state of stress. Taking time throughout your day to engage in restorative activities can help to put your body into rest and digest mode. You will feel more calm, alert, focused, creative and happier in your body and mind. Spending time each day to restore our bodies will help with the pressing deadlines, the overwhelm and constant chatter in our minds. Try something completely unrelated to your business for the best results. Some suggestions include yoga, meditation, a warm bath with essential oils, an infrared sauna, reading, a massage or self-massage practice, writing, dancing, spending time in nature, a breathing practice. Take time each week to allow your body and mind to restore. I created this short stress-relieving yoga practice. Give it a try!
Now you are probably thinking, gosh, I don’t have time in my day for all the work I have to do, let alone taking time for myself. Unfortunately, with this mentality, you are likely to hit burnout at some point along your journey. Your best bet is to be pro-active about these fundamental needs for your body and mind so that you can continue to show up as your best in your business. Some of these non-negotiables, you will want to do daily, while others can be squeezed in throughout your week depending on the demands of life and business. I promise the more you show up for yourself, the better you can show up in your business.
A Fitness and Lifestyle Coach helping busy women transform their bodies in realistic and sustainable ways without spending hours in the gym or counting calories.
She co-owns a training studio in Barrie, ON. where she trains her clients locally and works online to help women wanting to feel healthy, fit, confident and strong. She has been training women for over 15 years and after she had kids and took her training business full time, she created smart ways to get a fit body, and simple nutrition and lifestyle habits that will make a massive impact in your body inside and out.
If you are a busy woman and struggling with lack of energy, motivation and unhappy in your body, follow Alissa for inspiration.