Doing something you love doesn’t prevent burnout or stress. Entrepreneurs need to take care of themselves to be sure not to fall victim to burnout and stress.
You know that quote “do what you love, and you’ll never work another day in your life?” Guess what, it’s a lie! I’m not sure what job the person that said that had or if they were also lying to themselves but loving your job doesn’t mean it’s not hard work.
I feel like this quote is the kind of attitude that makes us feel guilty when we are stressed or burned out. You may feel like you shouldn’t be able to be stressed because you are doing what you love, you just have to be grateful and never complain.
I’m grateful every day that I do something I love for a living but it is hard work. Some days it’s very stressful. Like when I accidentally deleted my website, that story and warning are coming soon. I sat on the floor of my office with my laptop crying while talking to the tech people that work for my host.
It didn’t matter that I loved my job at that moment, at that moment the fact that it was my own business and all the responsibility rested on me only made it more terrifying.
Burn out and stress will happen even if you are doing something you love, something you’d do even if it wasn’t your job. You know why? Because it is still work. It’s still a job and it’s providing money for you to live.
There are ways to reduce that stress and prevent burnout but it’s still going to happen from time to time. You will have days where you want to quit, where a 9-5 sounds nice. That’s okay! Take a deep breath and readjust and maybe try some of these tips.
Preventing Stress and Burnout
1. Stop Working 24/7
One thing that can happen when you are passionate about your job is you do enjoy your work so you never turn it off. It becomes all you think about and sometimes all you talk about.
You will be able to do this for a while but at some point, you are going to crash. You can help stop this from happening by remembering it is a job and you need other things in your life, you need breaks from work.
I have to always work at this and remember to stop working. I run four blogs, I always have more work I can do. There is always a new project I want to start, a post I need to write, social media posts I need to get up, the to-do list is endless. However, I’m more productive and it’s healthier when I allow other things in my life.
For me, this means mostly sticking to work hours. I am married so for me it works best to keep a similar schedule to my husband. He even works from home so this works out even better for us.
I tend to start a bit later than him because I have more of a morning routine and I workout before I start my workday while he works out after. I also end a bit later than him but since he goes to the gym after this works well for us.
When you have work hours will depend on your business and stage of life but try and have defined work hours. That doesn’t mean if you are about to launch something new you can’t have some overtime but in general, try to stick to this.
2. Create Non-Work Hobbies
Did you know writing isn’t a hobby for me? I’m dyslexic and HATED writing in school. I doubt you would have found anyone that knew me that would have said I would be writing for a living.
The thing is my passion is being an entrepreneur and I love sharing my passions with others. That’s why I started blogging. Blogging is a tool for me.
That actually works well for me. It can be hard if you turn a hobby into a business because you lose that hobby as just a fun experience and now it’s work.
If this is the case for you or you don’t have other hobbies you need to find some. Something that you only do for fun, not something you monetize, at least not most of the time.
One of my hobbies is baking. I’ve been baking since I was two years old and I love it. I do post recipes on my homemaking blog from time-to-time but I keep a lot of my baking as just a hobby. This is part of why I never want a food blog. I don’t want my cooking and baking to always be work.
And once you do find one of these hobbies, or if you already have some, don’t forget it’s key to actually make time for them. You can’t just say you like to do these things but never actually do them.
A great book that encourages you to pursue hobbies is Fringe Hours: Making Time for You by Jessica N. Turner. She really encourages you to make time for yourself and talks about stress and burnout.
3. Practice Self-Care
A few years ago I got serious about my mental health. I’m a perfectionist, or as Pretty Neat Living says, a recovering perfectionist. I also don’t say no well and I’m a people pleaser. This isn’t a good recipe for mental health.
I’m an Enneagram 2 if you don’t know what that means it basically is a personality type and this one is called the helper. Sounds nice but it’s a personality type that deals with anxiety and burnout a lot.
One thing that I have made a priority is self-care. I do a few things every day for self-care. I love to take a hot bubble bath, watch a few Youtube videos or episodes of a show, maybe take a walk with my husband, read a fiction book, play video games, I have a long list of things to do when I need to relax and use it often.
There are also some bigger things I do like to get a massage once a month. That is a great one if you like massages and can afford it. It forces me to turn off all of my devices and shut my brain down.
Meditation and yoga practices can also help you do this for free. The app Headspace is great for guided meditation and reminding you to shutdown from time to time. I also do a yoga practice each morning.
What works for one person won’t work for everyone so try a few things and see what helps you feel recharged and do it more often!
4. Learn to Say No
This is the biggest tip I can give you. Learning to say no will change your life. It totally changed mine. It’s still not easy all the time, remember I said I’m a people pleaser so it can be very hard for me.
I let myself get to the point where I had no choice. My life was not in a place I wanted it to be in. I was burned out, overwhelmed, and had a therapist telling me things had to change. I knew it but having a professional tell you that can make you more serious about it.
I had about a year where I said no to basically everything. If it didn’t fit into my small list of priorities I said no. I’m sure some people were hurt, I’m still invited to fewer things because I’m guessing people got tired of me saying no. But it worked!
I got out of my rut and got my priorities more in line with where I wanted them. Now I’m able to say yes to more because I have more margin in my life since I’m less overwhelmed and gave myself time to get things in order.
Those friendships I lost, it’s okay. They weren’t building me up and they didn’t stick by me so they weren’t the right friendships for me. Now the friends that I have, support me and love me and understand if I’m busy.
I’m now making new friends and connections. I even started a blogging group in my town to connect to others that understand that area of my life and support new bloggers which is a passion of mine.
I was really inspired to say no more by two of my time management gurus, Crystal Paine and Amy Landino. Crystal Paine’s book Say Goodbye to Survival Mode taught me a lot about saying no for my sanity. Amy Landino always ends her YouTube videos encouraging you to “go after the life you want.” This continues to inspire me and she has a new book Good Morning, Good Life, which is another great resource to inspire you.
5. Go to Therapy
I’m a big believer in therapy. I’ve been going for around three years. I think it’s great for everyone but especially entrepreneurs because we are often isolated and can deal with large amounts of stress.
There are several great ways to get therapy now. You can go to a traditional in-person therapist or have an online therapist or phone therapy. I choose to use online therapy via video conferences because it is more comfortable for me and it cuts down on how much time it takes. I don’t have to drive somewhere and drive home I just set up my computer and go to my appointment.
You may need to try a few therapists, maybe even a few ways of getting therapy to find what works for you. Don’t think that just because you don’t like one therapist that therapy isn’t for you, try someone else and find the right fit.
If you are doing this more as a preventive measure you likely won’t need to go often but that little check-in can help keep your mental health in check.
Preventing Stress and Burnout Summary
Are you a skimmer? This was a long post with a lot of information so here is the TL;DR. Be sure to also save this post to go back and read it when you start to feel stress creeping back in.
- Just because you love your job doesn’t mean it’s not stressful or a lot of work. It is! You care about it so you likely are putting a lot of yourself into it. You need to take care of yourself to prevent stress and burnout.
- Create work hours and don’t work all of the time! You need to take breaks and have more in your life than just work.
- Hobbies can help you have interests outside of work and help you stop thinking about work and relax for a bit.
- You need to have a self-care practice. Not just occasionally but regularly.
- Saying no is one of the best things you can do. Seriously, say no to most things!
- Get a therapist. You don’t need a mental illness to benefit from therapy. A therapist can help us manage stress and give us a safe place to talk about our problems so we can release them and deal with them in a healthy way.