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How to avoid burnout as an entrepreneur

Burnout is the buzzword of the moment. It’s unfortunately a common phenomenon at the best of times, but the entrepreneurial community is even more affected. Here's what you can do to avoid it.

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Burnout is the buzzword of the moment. It’s unfortunately a common phenomenon at the best of times, but the entrepreneurial community is even more affected. According to Business Insider, over 50% of entrepreneurs have experienced burnout, characterised by lack of interest in work, fatigue, and feelings of depression.

The best way to cure burnout? Prevent it before it hits, through listening to your body and taking a break when you need it. 

Here, seven entrepreneurs share their favourite self care rituals that help keep them grounded.

“As someone who has previously been a frazzled burnt out mess trying to do everything at once, self care is a must for me,” says Daisy Morris, founder of The Selfhood. “I have to say that for me it looks very different to the usual 5am wake up calls and green juice fuelled mornings we read about in the Entrepreneur books. My self care looks like baths so long I turn into a raisin, watching utterly ridiculous comedy and laughing with my friends, a long walk somewhere quiet with a lot of trees, reading for non educational purposes, a home made dinner and an excellent cocktail.”

Self care is so important for entrepreneurs because they quite literally are their business. If you’re sick, your business suffers too. “Self care is crucial as I can only be the best version of myself for my customers when I fill up my cup,” says Jessica de Block, founder of Antwerp Avenue and Alfavrouwen. “I’m in this for the long haul and I realised over the years that I can’t pretend it’s a never ending sprint. I just have to water my ‘seed’ every day so it becomes a beautiful, strong tree. I start my day with chakra healing music in the shower, and I have started daily walks with my dog while listening to an audiobook.” 

Ellie Kine, founder of The Enthusiast, agrees. “Running your own business is a never ending rollercoaster, treadmill, any number of metaphors which see you going fast and all over the shop with no control, but self care is one simple but super important way to ground yourself,” she says. “I make sure to have a bath (sometimes at 2pm, which feels highly indulgent – take that 9 to 5s!) and also read as much as I can to take my mind off work!”

Thanks to celebrities pushing ‘miracle’ cures, self care has a bit of a contentious reputation. But in reality, it’s up to you how you interpret the idea. “When I first started my consultancy I thought self care was a dirty word, far too ‘goop’ for my liking. But wow, was I wrong!” says Jade Coles, founder of Studio Coles. “Self care is now woven into the very tapestry of my working day no matter what. I’ve come to realise that it’s about respecting yourself, your boundaries and your energy. I’m now hella protective of that. Nowadays self care looks to me like respecting the ceremonial moments that have become the pillars to my day. Going out for a walk first thing, slow brewing a coffee, every morning I pull three tarot cards via an app I love. I take some time to think about where my head is based on what comes up. I voice note my closest pals. Stretch, and then I’m ready to work.”

With so much work taking place online, particularly this year, digital detoxing is more important than ever. “With my business so focused on supporting others, looking after myself is fundamental to ensure I’m bringing my best and growing sustainably,” says Alice Benham, business and marketing strategist. “For me this looks like starting each day phone free, taking a full hour out for a nutritious lunch and regularly engaging in either coaching, mentoring or therapy.”

Entrepreneurs are known for making their own rules, so it’s worth ensuring your self care rituals are based on what works for you. “I don’t set an alarm (gasp!). Instead, I let my body naturally wake me up between 8-10am,” says Jessica Bruno, Social Media Marketing Consultant. “At 7pm I turn off all electronics and have fun with offline activities. Right now I’m knitting!” Yvie Ormsby, Creative Director at Yoco Studio, agrees that taking it slow in the evenings is the way to go. “I have an immovable self care ritual for Sunday evenings to both unwind from the week and reset for the next. Bubble bath, anime, journal. Every Sunday.” 

Create your own self care routine by testing out a number of different options to find the perfect combination for you. It’s a good idea to implement some small self care activities on a daily basis, and take time at the weekend for some more extended me-time. 

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