Business burnout can take a huge toll on your health and your finances. Here's how you can recognize the telltale signs and overcome it.
One of the many things you hear as you prepare to embark on your self-employment journey is just how hard you’ll have to work. You’ll have to put in long hours – early mornings, late nights, and weekends. Your work never really stops.

Over the past two years, I’ve been self-employed and have given 100 percent of myself to my business.

The long hours have taken a toll on me. I’m dealing not only with the everyday exhaustion of managing everything, but also with a hike in spending and lack of productivity and focus. I’ve realized that business owners like me are even more vulnerable to burnout than others, since we give our whole selves to what we do. We are the business.

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I'm a perfectionist at heart and I fear failure, but my dedication to my work has led to an unfortunate consequence: burnout.

Yet the long hours and lack of self-care can have serious consequences – not only on your physical and mental health, but also your financial life.

The more hours I work and need to invest in my business, the less time I have to do things in other areas of my life. The biggest things that get cut? Cooking and getting proper sleep. I’ve relied on dining out more, increased my coffee intake, and not cared very much about how much I’ve spent on things that I deem helpful to “get through the day” or “make me feel better.”

On top of that, while I’m earning more, my hourly rate is actually getting lower. Why? Because of diminishing returns.

Work that used to take me an hour or two now takes twice as long because my energy levels are low, as is my creativity.

As a business owner, you can do the long hours thing for a while – it may even convince you that you’re “serious” about your business. But in reality, this unhealthy pace will catch up with you in the long run and lead to burnout.

Are You Dealing With Business Burnout?

I started to realize that I was dealing with burnout after facing a few telltale signs:

  • Constantly feeling tired
  • Becoming more irritable
  • Starting to resent work
  • Having severe “brain fog”
  • Taking longer to do tasks

Do you recognize any of these signs? You may be dealing with burnout yourself. Burnout is more than just being tired here and there – it can affect your whole life.

Running a Business or Self Employed? This Online Accountant is Designed to Support You >>

How I Plan to Overcome Business Burnout

After dealing with these signs for more than a couple of weeks, I realized that I needed to make some big changes in my life and in my business. Here’s how I plan to recover from burnout (and how you can, too):

1. Aim For Eight Hours of Sleep

For the past few months, I’ve been working right up until I go to bed. Then I wake up early to get started on everything again. The lack of sleep makes it hard to focus and has led to increased spending. Slowly but surely, I’m trying to turn off the computer at least one hour before bed and to get eight hours of sleep each night. I’m also setting aside some “me time” in the morning so that I don’t start working immediately after I wake up. Creating habits before bed and after waking can help you decompress and get the rest you need.

2. Eat Three Meals a day – Not in Front of a Computer

When you’re a workaholic – I mean… committed to your business – it’s hard to step away, even for necessary things like eating.

Part of me realized that I felt so fatigued because I didn't eat enough. And when I did, it was always in front of the computer. I’m now working on eating a full three meals each day. And when I eat, I close the computer and eat in peace.

3. Learn to Say “No”

I pride myself on being a “yes” girl, and I love to help out wherever I can. But I realize that with every “yes,” I say “no” to something else. And that “no” is usually a “no” to taking any time for myself. As a business owner, I need to put myself first so that I can continue to run my business. My health, sanity, and productivity are directly proportional to my income, so I’m working on setting better boundaries and saying “no” to business more often so that I can say “yes” to myself.

Running a Business or Self Employed? This Online Accountant is Designed to Support You >>

The Bottom Line

If you’re a business owner, it’s okay to work long hours here and there, especially when you’re first starting out. However, burning the candle at both ends for long periods of time isn’t sustainable. And it can cost you financially. You are your own biggest asset in your business, so why not take care of yourself?