by Sue Perez | Featured Contributor
Yep, it’s that time of the year AGAIN. We are all scratching our heads wondering where the year went. It literally just flies by. If you are like most entrepreneurs than you are managing your calendar daily ticking the boxes of what got done at the end of each day. Goal planning and projections for the next fiscal quarter is a function for every business. We are running, some of us literally, from the front door to the office door and from one meeting to the next. Every time we glance at the clock or sense that vibration from our smart phones we are checking in and rushing forward to get through another day. And then right on cue; enter the Holidays, and that 100ft Norway Spruce is back at Rockefeller Center and we are all stunned because we just can’t believe it. It’s a joyful time but it can also be a very challenging time for some people.
Overwhelm vs Overload
The constant momentum we need to maintain in our lives can overwhelm us. Who isn’t walking around with stress, but the difference between stress and burnout is that there are varying degrees of burnout. Burnout is a state of chronic stress and leads to health problems. And it doesn’t just happen overnight. Usually people who are very passionate about what they do, like the self-employed start-ups, tend to ignore that they are working long hours. The enormous pressures many of them feel to succeed takes a toll and the feelings of overwhelm begin. Do you push away stress by jumping on a recumbent bike? Sure exercise may help you feel better, but what about other ways of coping when life throws you a curve ball? Does overwhelm cause you to overeat or drink too much? Over indulgence can be a way to deal with stress even though we know it isn’t the best choice often making things worse. Or do you skip meals and neglect to get enough rest? Over time these kinds of actions lead to bigger health problems.
Hazardous roads ahead
Burnout causes so many issues and can range from simply feeling a lack of energy to feeling alienated, severe depression, rage, hostility and loss of sleep. Forgetfulness is an early sign but as things pile up you can suffer more physical symptoms like headaches, anxiety and intestinal issues. As your body depletes, your immune system becomes weakened, making you more vulnerable to infections, colds, and the flu. Emotional burnout can make you feel exhausted and unable to get enough work done or the energy you need to keep going. But the real terror strikes when burnout affects your work performance and that’s harder to disguise. Continuously Feeling overwhelmed and over tired causes forgetfulness and this can cause you to make mistakes you normally wouldn’t. This can be a deal breaker when it comes to clients.
Kate is a good friend of mine who recently made such a huge mistake with a client and she called me to cry about it. She’s a business manager for a well known beauty brand at an upscale luxury department store in the city. She has a variety of clients who hire her for her strategy sessions. She was building a nice relationship with a manufacturing company who is in the midst of launching a new beauty product. But, Kate, being married, working an already demanding schedule and a new mom, ignored the warning signs. Self care and spa days aside my friend Kate started to burn out. Often her days started early with a Venti iced mocha and ended late with Chinese take out. When her corporate client called she would add those appointments in on her days off. Kate called me between sobs and sips of earl grey as I patiently listened. “I made a huge error and overlooked the dates in my calendar, accidentally double booking myself!” This was a mistake and maybe it even cost her the client relationship. Anyone can forget to make a note or worse, enter the wrong note. How do you explain that when you’re trying to make an excuse? No one cares when the truth is it’s our responsibility and so making any excuse is just lame. Period.
1.Breathe deep and accept that all the great qualities that make you exceptional and there are many! Write them down! These outweigh your flaws. So you have to accept that sometimes you goof. Now is not the time to beat you up or pick yourself apart, blame or criticize.
2.Laugh, meditate, eat a piece of chocolate cake, exercise, drink a glass of Pino Noir, whatever makes you feel good right away. If you like having a good cry then do that first and then carry on, as women sometimes we need to.
3.Slow down! It’s ok! Now see what you can pull back from. Are you working too many extra hours? Can you delegate something and free yourself up? Can someone else pick the kids up? Can you have some assistance? Ask for help.
4.Realize that you are still valuable and have a lot to offer. Your dreams, your passion and goals are underneath all the weight of the stress you’ve been under. It’s time to come up for air, give yourself some well-deserved accolades and design some time for yourself so you can recharge those ambitions.
Refuel and Recharge
It’s so basic but the fundamentals of basic maintenance are how you put joy into your life. And when we are operating on fumes we tend to neglect or totally abuse them. Eating is something we need to do to add gas to our engines; we function better when we aren’t starving. Satisfy your hunger. This doesn’t necessarily have to do with food. What can you give yourself that will make you feel happy and fulfilled? A massage? A dance class? A day at the hair salon? A vacation? We are so busy taking care of the other people in our lives that we forget about ourselves. Make yourself a priority. When you acknowledge that your own needs have value, you will begin to realize that you have value too.
Namaste in bed
And saying no to the things that you can, or at least thinking about it before agreeing to take on a new task nay be a new habit worth learning. Watch your favorite movies, binge those TV shows and dance to your favorite music. The way you move your body and what kind of exercise you engage in helps speed up your body’s elimination of waste and toxins. It will energize and refresh you so keep that personal training appointment or try a Pilate’s reformer class at your local gym. Spend next Sunday afternoon in your pajamas in bed and design your 2020 journal. Celebrate your achievements and how far you’ve come from a few years ago. Recognize all the ways in which you changed for the best. Focus on what you DO have. Be grateful and commit yourself to eliminating self doubts. Now take a sip of your mimosa and breathe deeply. The point is burnout doesn’t have to overwhelm you this holiday season. Or ever again.