In 2018 we saw conversations around mental health and the importance of self care begin to come into the mainstream with more entrepreneurs opening up to about the challenges of running your own businesses.
Don’t wait until the moment you experience burn out, says Candice Clark, a life coach.
“Often our businesses become our priorities, and we end up placing more emphasis on the well-being of our business than of our own personal well-being,” says Clark, founder of Candice Clark Collective.
Clark says self-care is not a superfluous thing. “It’s important. You need to look after yourself to show up well in any area of your life. Make sure you’re doing it to be able to chase all those big dreams you have!”
She adds: “Being an entrepreneur is a surefire way to throw once’s self-care off balance! Growing a business is a demanding job and you can’t pour from an empty cup. For a lot of people, it will eventually result in burnout.”
Clark says self-care looks different for everyone, she uses two ways to gauge it. “Firstly, you can ask “Is this an act that is coming from a place of self-love?” Examples of practising self-love could be finding ways to unwind or not working on the weekend unless absolutely necessary.
Clark says you should also ask “Is this affirming my self-worth?” This means walking away from situations and projects that are no longer serve you or are seriously affecting your health.
“The first place to start is to get out your journal and spend some time noting down various activities that fill your heart with joy,” explains Clark.
“What do you love to do? What fills your cup right back up? And then schedule them in!
“From there you can start thinking about how you implement this concept on a daily basis. For example, start planning better around your working hours and efficiency, (perhaps have) mini-breaks during the day, or rewards for goals achieved.”
Signs of burn out
Clark says the following are warning signals of burn out:
- Fatigue, and in some cases quite chronic fatigue. More tired or sad days than happy and energized days.
- Irritability, and sometimes a struggle with falling sleep, staying asleep and feeling fully rested.
- Anxious thoughts, and an inability to “switch off”.
- Placing work and achievement of goals ahead of personal well-being and the well-being of those closest to us. “If you’re on your phone working while at a family lunch … You might not be on the verge of burn out, but you may need to rethink how you switch off and give your loved ones the presence they need from you for your and their well-being. It’s one of the very early warning signals about what it is that you’re prioritizing.”
She adds: “If any of these speak to you, please connect with a psychologist or coach.”
Ways to prevent burn out
From both her personal and coaching experience, Clark says the following is important to take note of if you want to prevent burning out:
- Improve your efficiency and planning. You’ll be amazed what you can get done in a day when you impose your own deadlines on yourself to achieve better work/life balance.
- Schedule in time to do the things you love to do and stick to it. It doesn’t have to cost a cent. There are loads of activities you love which are free.
- See a psychologist or coach sooner rather than later if you can feel your sad and/or tired days outweighing your happy and energetic days, and if you can feel that something is off balance.
- Spend time with a psychologist and coach to solidify and improve your self-worth. When you start to place yourself first – in particular ahead of perfectionism, and unrealistic goals, everything else slowly starts to fall into place. Seek out a great coach or psychologist to support you on your journey to better balance.