I am cooked. There, I said it. I said what so many of you are feeling right at this moment.
I think about shutting my business down every single day.
Sometimes several times a day.
Right now, I am healthy, in good physical shape, and working with some amazing clients. On most days, I love the work I do and think I am doing the work I’m supposed to be doing in this life.
My clients are getting good results and are happy with me and my support.
I had a good year last year.
So, nothing is wrong, but…. My mental health is not good. I don’t even hide it at this point. I have said to multiple people, “I’m not well.”
More than half the time, someone thanks me for being honest and says they are not doing well either. Then, we have a real conversation and support each other.
We usually talk about the grind of being in this %$*! pandemic for almost two years. We talk about the stress of friends and loved ones who have gotten all the shots and are getting sick anyway.
We talk about the new pandemic normal, because this isn’t going away anytime soon, and how it will involve tradeoffs and choices and calculated risks.
I haven’t left the state in three years, but I will be going on a trip soon. We all evaluated the risks and decided to do it.
Everyone I ask says it’s safe to fly. It might even be, but it doesn’t feel that way to me. I didn’t like flying before the pandemic, to be honest.
That said, I have to get out of here. I am clearly on the verge of losing it and doing something potentially stupid like shutting down my business when it’s actually doing well and I have a steady flow of strategy sessions with nice prospective clients.
If you’re battling burnout, here are some suggestions to help you get through the day or week:
Find a friend or colleague, preferably a current or former entrepreneur, and admit you are burned out. The shame fades when you say it, and it will stop having so much power over you.
You may even help someone else in the process by giving them permission to own it for themselves.
Maybe you always get cranky in January or February. I know February is always a tough month for me. It’s totally understandable that someone – you, me, anyone – would be over this whole thing.
You’re not broken, the world is a little cray-cray right now.
Journaling, exercising, and meditating are non-negotiables for me. These support my mental and physical health. I think better and sleep better. I do better work with my clients. I am a nicer human and friend.
Self-care isn’t self-indulgent. Self-care is critical for professional success over the long term. (That’s from my TEDx talk and even more true now than it was in 2015.)
The hustle culture hustled you. Remember all those people who said they will sleep when they die? They look like hell, and many have had mental or physical health crashes. Humans need rest!
By the way, rest isn’t just sleep. There are multiple kinds of rest. Who knew? This talk is great and will get you thinking about all the different ways you may need to rest, if you are wrestling with major burnout like me. Saundra Dalton-Smith MD is a physician, researcher and the author of the book “Sacred Rest: Recover Your Life, Renew Your Energy, Restore Your Sanity.”