- Meet Steve, the burned-out entrepreneur of the future, suffering the side effects of burnout such as arthritis & repetitive strain, headaches, hunchback, bloating, bad skin and bloodshot eyes.
- Additional symptoms of burnout include feeling stressed and tense, fatigue, high blood pressure, reduced performance, lack of purpose and loss of wellbeing.
- 40% of UK workers felt they had experienced burnout at work in the last 12 months.
- Entrepreneurs, particularly those who manage organisations that are likely to see trauma, such as hospitals, vets and law enforcement, are most likely to suffer from burnout.
A recent survey by Tide discovered that almost 40% of workers across the UK felt they had experienced burnout at work over the past 12 months.
A life of constant hustling can lead to burnout, a very real phenomenon that can manifest itself in a variety of mental and physical ways that can have a vastly negative impact on the lives of hustling entrepreneurs. In fact, in 2019 the World Health Organisation recognised burnout as a new syndrome and described it as ‘burnout is a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed’.
By consulting expert healthcare professional Lee Chambers, Tide has visualised how burnout could impact and shape the future hustler, with ‘Steve’, the burned-out entrepreneur of the future.
You can view the research in full here: https://www.tide.co/blog/productivity-wellbeing/the-future-hustler/
Psychologist Lee Chambers explains how physical and mental symptoms of burnout include:
- Feeling tense and weighed down
- Increased stress and fatigue
- High blood pressure
- Risk of Diabetes and Heart Disease
- Reduced workplace performance
- Lack of purpose
- Loss of physical and mental wellbeing
- Becoming detached from friends and family
- Loss of our own esteem and identity
Who is at risk from burnout?
According to Lee Chambers, “burnout can manifest itself in different forms, and certain occupations can increase your potential chance of being burnt out. It’s a very individual condition, with people presenting very differently.”
“Those at higher risk of burnout are in positions that involve seeing trauma, having to detach from emotive work, have long hours, and that are regularly judged and assessed. Those who work in hospitals and veterinary surgeries, therapists and teachers, social workers and law enforcement are all at a higher risk due to the nature of their jobs.”
“Entrepreneurs are increasingly at risk as overworking is glamorised, they are less likely to have colleagues to keep them accountable to balance or identify the signs, and hustling is advertised as a prerequisite of being a successful entrepreneur.
“Don’t embrace the hustle: the reality is that most new ventures do take effort to come to fruition, and that building early momentum does require focused effort. Driving a business is like driving a large vehicle, moving forward towards a destination, and you wouldn’t get behind the wheel if you had already driven for 20 hours straight. A business is no different, and you need to take regular breaks, refuel and recharge by making time for yourself and those who support you.”
What to do about burnout, how can you recover and prevent it?
Studying our own thoughts and behaviours: “Sometimes, people suffering from burnout are not aware that they are until they hit a significant crisis. Looking at our thoughts, feelings, and behaviours is the first step, as awareness allows us to break free from being on autopilot and just going through the motions in life. Burnout is challenging, but it can be overcome. Still, to ensure you don’t replay the past and burnout again, we need to understand what negative behaviours have contributed to where we currently are.”
Reducing stress and care for ourselves more: “If we are suffering from burnout, it certainly highlights a need for self-care, and this is important in recovery. Finding ways to reduce your stress and reignite your passion are likely to involve self-care. What is important is that we don’t try to rigidly shoehorn self-care into our lives, as this can potentially cause us to fire the perfectionism which might have been a factor in burnout, or leave us being critical if we fail to meet those standards, which is not beneficial as we certainly need to be kinder and have more self-compassion.”
Finding a balance between work and downtime: “The balance between work and life is so often an issue that needs addressing when looking at burnout. In reality, we just have life, and work is integrated into our life. We need to investigate why work bleeds into every other aspect of our lives. By working on this balance, we get more clarity on who we want to become, and start to find the time and energy to be both productive at work and like the things we enjoy doing outside of our career.”
Deal with stress in life outside of work: “Looking at what you do for hobbies and interests, are these things that recharge you both from enjoyment and the people you are surrounded with? Sometimes we can burn out because we feel we have to be everything, or can’t say no, and we end up doing lots of things that other people enjoy. It is vital that we find the things that make us smile, laugh and feel warm inside.”
Listen to your body’s rhythms: “We all have biorhythms, little clocks in our cells. If we honour these, we feel energised and alive. These rhythms are like waves, and it is important that we flick the off switch a few times every day, and disconnect from the world of stimulation and inputs. This is especially vital at work, so we can disconnect from and take a break to refresh. This allows us to reconnect more powerfully when we return. Go for a walk, spend some time in solitude, breathe and reflect, or have a simple chat with a colleague about something light-hearted. And if you have too much work to take breaks, you need to consider highlighting this, delegating, and prioritising.”
Build your own support network: “Planning where to turn in challenging times is essential. Having the knowledge that there are people who can support you, resources you can access, and a whole network out there to use makes us feel more connected and that we no longer have to find all the solutions ourselves.”
Give yourself a break when you need it: “Taking an intentional break is vital to rest and recharge the body and mind. Taking yourself away, especially into a natural environment, induces feelings of grounding and serenity, and solitude can give us the headspace to start to process the bigger picture. It is also an intentional message to ourselves, giving ourselves permission to stop spinning and find a natural rhythm.”
Finding a mentor: “Get a mentor outside of the influencers: having a mentor who is outside of the business influences who shout ‘hustle harder’ from the rooftops will help to give you a grounded perspective on what and where you need to progress, and will likely be a great sounding board to stop you overworking and expending energy in areas where the returns are not worthwhile and the energy drain is high.”
Assess your workload: “We are only human and can only do so much. If your workload is overbearing, it’s time to access it and see if there is the ability to get support, delegate, automate or reduce what you are doing on a daily basis. At the end of the day, your health is not worth trading for any amount of business success.”
Plan for the future: “And finally, the big one, burnout is so often a by-product of your working environment. It is unlikely you can change an organisation’s culture overnight. But you can plan and shape what you can control. By planning, you start to create a path to move into, feeling more assured. Many people feel stuck in position, which adds additional stress, but taking the initiative and looking elsewhere can be empowering and inspires hope. Most importantly, your job isn’t as important as your health, and being facing burnout means it is time to accept a change is needed.”
Liza Haskell, Chief Administrative Officer at Tide comments:
“Our survey shows how common burnout is in today’s society, particularly amongst entrepreneurs who are running their own businesses.
“Whilst hard work is required for a successful business, it should not come at the expense of your health. Long hours may seem productive in the moment, but over the long term the side effects of burnout, such as fatigue, reduced performance and lack of motivation, are likely to hinder your progress.
“If you are displaying the symptoms of burnout it is important to step back and reassess your current lifestyle. Try putting in place boundaries to create work-life balance, take regular breaks, look after your physical and mental wellbeing and seek additional support if required.”
You can view the research in full by clicking here