Dealing With Entrepreneurial Burnout

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While the COVID-19 pandemic is claiming lives and hitting families and communities hard, a silent epidemic has also been spreading, adding to the already stressful times people are experiencing. Burnout is an issue that affects 52% of employees in the United States, and 67% would say that the pandemic has made the feeling even worse.

Entrepreneurs aren’t immune to the stress, anxiety, and depression that could cause, go with, or result from burnout. A recent UK survey of entrepreneurs showed that 58% of respondents experienced mental health issues, with 41% citing stress as their biggest problem.

A 2015 survey of 242 entrepreneurs found that 49% reported having a mental health condition, which might indicate that things are getting worse. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, though, as pressure and stress are something that’s a common part of the entrepreneurial lifestyle.

There’s pressure not to be in the 21.5% of startups that fail in the first year, but also pressure to fail as soon as possible because failure is lauded in the entrepreneurship culture. The hours are grueling, and the work conditions are unseemly, but all of that is often perceived as part of the hustle, and even a point of pride.

That’s where Dylan Suitor, a successful entrepreneur, and realtor, sees the problem in the way things are perceived. “There’s this heavy emphasis on life being about financial gains,” Dylan Suitor says. “At least, that’s the public perception of it. But I was wrapped up with that notion for years, and it occasionally left me feeling burned out.”

Still, Suitor powered through the burnout the way many other entrepreneurs do, and he did exceptionally well for himself, his team at Elevation Realty, and his clients. Burnout doesn’t have to spell an end to a career, but it can make it more difficult, which is all the more reason it needs to be dealt with.

Starting at the root of the problem, an entrepreneur who wants to prevent episodes of burnout would likely need to deal with causes of stress. Easier said than done, true, but there are some healthy ways to manage stress for every type of person. Practicing mindfulness comes with a variety of benefits, including decreased stress sensitivity and better stress management. In some cases, therapy and counseling might be warranted. Organizational or structural changes to the business might also be required.

Another step would be to take care of one’s health. This is where sleep, diet, and exercise come in. Apart from helping people deal with stress better, all of the above are also necessary for keeping up healthy energy levels and giving the body everything it needs to achieve peak performance.

Setting healthy boundaries, changing one’s priorities, and learning to make room for a living as well as working are all parts of finding a more balanced way of being. Dylan Suitor did that by redefining what things mean to him.

“Wealth is about the entire person,” he says. “What’s the point of money if you can’t spend it on experiences? Experiences are so much more valuable than any amount of money. I certainly work hard when I work, however, I’ve spent more time on all aspects of myself of late and it’s been a total game-changer.”

Whether it’s working out, finding ways to effectively manage stress, or changing the whole outlook on life, the best way to deal with burnout and prevent it from happening is to do something about it right away. The results might be surprising and extend far beyond just not having any burnout episodes. For Dylan Suitor, the change was profound. As he put it, “I’ve been able to find the balance that I’ve wanted in my life.”