At some point in your entrepreneurial journey, you will experience burnout. Because of this, you need to learn how to recover from burnout – quickly.
The reason you need to recover from burnout quickly is so that you can get back to your life. You also want to be able to bounce back and move on to the next project. But, before going into how to recover from burnout, we have to get very clear about what I’m referring to when I say “burnout.”
Burnout happens sometimes, but it should not be the norm
Now, ideally, you don’t experience burnout in the first place. You also shouldn’t be experiencing it all the time. If you are, something is off and you need to rearrange some stuff in your business.
For example, sometimes I have coaching clients come to me because they are experiencing severe cases of burnout with little to show for it. This usually means they need better systems, need to outsource, or need to start charging more money.
In very extreme cases, they’ve been taught that overserving is how they receive validation. As such, they burn themselves out all the time. This is not what I’m talking about in this article. This is an entirely separate issue that needs to be addressed because there is a lot more going on.
I’m talking about those moments when you’ve taken on a big project or work is more hectic than usual. For example, I recently shared that I worked very hard for six weeks to complete six months of podcast and video content ahead of time. This is not something I’m doing all the time, it’s just something that happened for a set period of time.
Or, I know December and January is very busy for those of us in the business and finance industry. I can already expect to feel a little burnout during this time because it’s my busy season. Again, that is very different than burning yourself out all the time. The former happens in life, the latter is a health concern that requires serious changes in your mindset and the business.
Now that we’ve differentiated between the two kinds of burnout, it’s time to address how to recover from burnout quickly.
How to Recover From Burnout Quickly
Let’s assume you’re burned out because you took on a big project or are coming off of a busy season. Like me, I’m currently coming off of feeling burned out because I went very hard to complete a big project for my business. That’s when we can talk about recovery.
Take preemptive measures so you don’t burn out too badly.
Hopefully, you didn’t burn out too bad. Most likely, your mind and body are just temporarily done and you need some rest. This is very different than severe cases of burnout I’ve seen where the person literally gets sick and cannot function.
In order to make sure the latter doesn’t happen, you need to take some preemptive measures. For example, I gave myself a deadline of two months to complete a big project on top of my normal workload. I knew that was the amount of time I needed to complete the project. Furthermore, I also knew I’d be exhausted, but that I wouldn’t be out for the count once everything is completed.
I also made sure I was getting some sleep. And finally, although I couldn’t take too much off my plate, I did decide to take a step back from cranking out content on my website. I also didn’t go to my fitness classes, but I knew this was a very temporary sacrifice (I only missed a couple of weeks).
You have to be realistic with your timeline and you also have to realize you can’t do everything during this time. That’s okay. Remember, it’s only temporary. The way you can recover from burnout quickly is to make sure the burnout isn’t too bad in the first place.
Once you’ve gotten out of the busy season or completed a big project, it’s time to do some other forms of recovery.
Take a couple of days off.
The first thing I do when I recover from burnout is to immediately take a couple of days off. In my case, I’m taking the weekend off. I’m catching up on sleep, seeing some friends and family, and relaxing by the pool.
During this time, I’m not working at all. I’m not even reading a book that can help me with my business. Additionally, I’m limiting my time on social media. I’m simply relaxing.
Granted, this is easier said than done for us entrepreneurial Type-A personalities. After all, we like action and being productive. However, it’s important for us to remember that resting when warranted is a form of taking action and being productive.
You will also feel much better once you let your mind and body rest. Hopefully, with you’ll get better at noticing the symptoms of potential burnout and can start listening to your body. You’ll also soon start to notice that rest actually helps you get more done.
I know this sounds very counterintuitive, but trust me on this one. It’s a lesson I’ve already learned the hard way.
Ease back into your regular schedule.
Another thing I do to recover from burnout is to ease back in to my regular schedule. For example, I’m not taking on too much this week. I have a few consultations and a VIP coaching client. I’m not even trying to pitch content marketing clients too hard.
In fact, I’m looking for ways to improve my regular schedule so I have more recovery time moving forward. Namely, I’m trying to find ways to make sure I’m going after the right opportunities. Anything else can either wait or I’m getting rid of it.
Onboard more help if you need it.
Here is something I noticed during my most recent bout of burnout – I need to hire more people to help me. This is especially true because sales in my business blew up at the same time that I was working on a big project. This means I was even busier than I anticipated I would be.
The truth is, even with this big project done, I realize I’m still doing way too much on my own. As such, I’ve given my PR people more hours. I’m also giving my virtual assistant more hours and bringing on a manager to help with brand partnership deals. The next phase is to bring on a salesperson to help with selling my business training courses.
This sometimes happens after you experience burnout. If this is the case for you, then make sure to bring on more help sooner rather than later. Because sometimes the best way to recover from burnout is to make sure you’re not doing too much after your busy season is complete.
Start working out again (if you stopped).
I sacrificed my fitness classes during my most recent busy season. Quite frankly, they took up too much time so I needed to temporarily pause. I also didn’t want to burn out my body by forcing it to do difficult workouts during this time of intense work. I’ve made that mistake before and didn’t want to repeat it.
Now that this is complete, I’m easing back into my regular schedule. It will be rough at first, but I will feel so much better afterward.
I want to drive home the point that experiencing burnout all the time is not normal or healthy. However, for those occasions in life where it’s inevitable, you can use these tips to recover from burnout quickly. You will not only feel accomplished that you completed a big project, but you will feel rested sooner rather than later.
Amanda is a best-selling author of "Make Money Your Honey", a book that helps freelancers and business owners understand their relationship with money and how to make it more productive. She's driven by helping others live the most productive and fruitful way possible.