Pushing yourself beyond your limits is not the recipe for success you think it might be. On the contrary, it can lead to work burnout. Imagine working so hard, your body gives out and your brain stops working.
I’ve been there, and I don’t recommend it. Here’s my story.
A curse in disguise
The world came to a complete standstill in March 2020. Things drastically changed for everyone. The anxiety I didn’t realize I’ve always had, reared its ugly head and quickly took over my entire being.
I wasn’t sleeping. I was stressed out all the time, and I was constantly buzzing. This wasn’t something I’d ever experienced before.
I didn’t recognize it for what it was. What I knew was I was more productive than I’d ever been in my life.
I thought, “Hey, this is kind of cool. Behold the new Alyson reborn. Maybe I’m finally growing up.”
I thought I was finally getting into my element. My immediate thought was at least one good thing was coming from the global disaster.
My friend, Jennie, realized I was going through work burnout. She tried warning me what I was doing was unhealthy.
“This isn’t how you should be. The productivity is great. It’s really cool to wake up in the morning and find six hours of work already done. But you can’t sustain this level for that long.”
Then work burnout struck
It was probably August 2020 when the latent depression came in. It hit me in full force.
I hadn’t been taking care of myself. I hadn’t been paying attention to what I needed as a human in order to run my business. It sidelined me for a good couple of weeks.
Even though I’m still working hard, I’m not back to my pre-Covid levels of productivity.
What’s scary is there are times I miss that. Sometimes I miss feeling like I can get so much done.
Now I know how unhealthy that is, I’ve sought the help that I need in order to handle things in a more healthy way.
Watch out for work burnout
I’m not telling you this so you can go and get yourself in an anxious state in order to get more done. What I want to show you is you are not alone. It’s really hard to take care of yourself when you’re trying to build something.
We launched the System to Thrive podcast on July 9, 2020. It was all done in 30 days.
Part of that was due to this anxiety, which allowed me to get so much done. But it led to some major burnout.
I see some really good friends pushing really hard to get some things done and they’re working hard. They’re getting up super early, working all day, not taking breaks, working until the late hours, and then getting up and doing it all over seven days a week.
I now know from personal experience that this isn’t sustainable.
This is not something that you can do on an ongoing basis. Yes, there will be busy times you need to put in more hours from time to time.
But if you never take a break, you’ll burnout.
It’s not just going to be you that shuts down. It’s going to be your business. Your creativity will suffer, so will your productivity and your ability to think logically and critically.
I don’t care what kind of marketing plan you have. If you are not able to implement it because you haven’t taken care of yourself, it’s not going to help your business.
How to deal with work burnout
I want to tell you how to go about this self-care thing from someone who doesn’t really understand the concept.
It’s hard for me to turn off. I always thought that was creativity, ambition, excitement, and passion.
Now I know it’s anxiety.
It’s hard for me to turn my brain off. It turns out I have anxiety and ADHD.
What I can tell you is that intentionally stepping back, as well as giving yourself permission to take time off without feeling guilty will be a game changer. Not worrying about the notifications and how your marketing numbers are changing every second will do you good.
If you are the person that struggles to step away from your business, whether you feel like you can’t or you feel like you don’t want to, it’s going to be hard.
You might even mistake it for passion. But what it is, is fear.
We’re afraid that if we step away from our business for one second, it’s going to end.
Why step away
There are things you can do to step away from your business for an extended period of time without worrying about it. We’ll probably address that in other posts.
It’s essential for you to be able to step back. Go for a walk, read a novel, play with your kids. Just take a break.
If you’re awake, and you’re not eating and not showering, you need to be doing something that is not about your business.
If you keep pushing, if you obsess about your business to the point where it takes over your entire life, then you’re going to burn out.
That’s when you’re going to lose your business. I can tell you right now, you won’t be able to see many of the signs of work burnout coming.
Burnout is not one of those things that gradually shows up and you know it’s coming. There’s no magical point that you can see in the distance that says here is where you’re going to have to stop.
It shows up out of nowhere.
It shows up in illness, it shows up in injury. Your body can only go through so much. When it’s finally had enough, it’ll shut you down.
Work burnout doesn’t have to be the end of your dreams
I see you working hard. I see you trying to build something so you can leave behind a legacy.
Just make sure you don’t overdo it and burnout.
And remember, you’re not alone.
Try some of the tips out and email me to let me know how it goes! Or, post your results on my Facebook page to share with everyone. I’m looking forward to hearing from you.