First Steps to Recovering From Burn-out as an Entrepreneur
The first steps to recovering from burn-out as an entrepreneur is acknowledging that I am burnt out. I resisted this for a long time. I didn’t want to admit that I was in burn-out and thought if I just kept doing more that it would be ok. At the same time, I was feeling a lack of desire to share content on social media. I had been posting between 20-30 different pieces of content on 5-8 platforms DAILY.
Until one day I couldn’t do it anymore. I broke down in front of my husband and told him that I couldn’t physically do any more. My body was in pain, my creativity gone, and my mindset shattered. Even though I was also doing all the things that I thought were needed for self-care, my cup was not being refilled. I shared in this now viral TikTok how I realized that the issue was that my cup has holes in it. I would need time and support to mend the holes in my cup.
That’s when I decided to take the full summer off.
This blog post could end here, as I don't need to share the reasons why I’m taking time off. I’m doing this to help others who feel they need permission to take an extended leave from their business or job. And share how I'm preparing for this break.
Why am I taking the summer off?
First, I haven't taken a vacation in over 4 years. Before moving to British Columbia from Ontario, Canada, I would take a few vacations a year. We’ve moved houses three times in four years and that has made it hard to take a vacation. A stay-cation could have worked, except that I have difficultly unplugging at home. That will be a big test for me this summer.
I started my business 16 years ago and have never taken the summer off. It was drilled into me that everyone else takes the summer off, so that’s when I need to be working and filling my pipeline. It never occurred to me that I could also enjoy the summer months without the hustle of work.
As an entrepreneur, I didn't take a maternity leave. Employees get up to 18 months paid leave in Canada (at a reduced salary) and the program for self-employed people to paid into this benefit didn’t exist when I had my daughter 11 years ago.
My body needs extended time off to heal.
I don’t talk about this much, and it may be in a future blog post; I’ve suffered from chronic pain since I was about 8 years old. Writing this blog post is painful and even with breaks, I will have pain for a few weeks once I’ve finish it. I have tried dictation, however the way we speak and write are different, so the workload isn’t much less. I’ve been dealing with computer overuse injuries since I was in my 20s.
Last summer, after a full hysterectomy, I didn't even take a full 6 weeks off. My work set-up required me to be standing for much of the day, which proved difficult after the surgery. I took 2 weeks off and did my best to get back to it after that.
Mental exhaustion due to trauma over the past 4 years.
Another long post for another time. I’ve been focused on my daughter's mental health as a priority for over 4 years and now I need to care for my own mental health. This will help heal the holes in my cup.
And finally, for my emotional health as I feel depleted, and my self-care activities aren't helping enough.
How am I doing this?
It can be tough as a business owner and entrepreneur to take extended time off.
I’ll start by taking a hiatus from my podcast. I've been posted episodes weekly since Dec 2019. The last few interviews I've done, I found myself crying in front of my guests and not because of their stories, but because I feel so burnt-out.
Going dark on social media.
Once my Pre-Summer Gut Reset program is done at the end of June, I'll be off social media til September. I’ll post an image and info about my leave and then log out of every app and delete them from my phone.
Staying connected with friends via text messaging only. No email or other messaging apps. If we communicate primarily via social media, please message me to exchange cell info.
Setting up an out-of-office for my email and unsubscribing from every single thing I am subscribed to (even the things I love!). My intention is to stay off email for two months.
Put my year-long training program on hold. I paid in advance for the year and have temporarily stopped attending any training or events. I’m also saying no to adding anything to my calendar this month and have made my calendar link unavailable.
Connecting with clients to let them know I'll be unavailable this summer. All have been supportive of my decision to take a leave of absence.
Thankfully, I have an income from my USANA (nutritional supplements) business that will continue to pay me while I'm off. After 16 years, I've built up a solid customer base and I am grateful that my customers will continue to order products while I'm off. I'll be ordering myself, as supplements are essential for my healing.
What will I be doing?
I am going to practice being a human being. And not a human doing.
Listening to my body. Sleeping in if I choose to or getting up for a sunrise dip. Napping often.
Spending time with my daughter and husband. Going to the beach, the river, hiking in the forest and chilling in the yard or on the couch.
Caring for our new puppy (she's almost 7 months old) and napping when she naps.
Investing in my friendships. This is one area of my life I've neglected over the past four years. I’d like to spend time with friends hanging out in my back yard or at the beach. Or if my body says yes, going for hikes.
Not setting goals or having too many plans. Allowing myself to rest. Allowing my body to heal. This will be the hardest thing for me to do. I live my life by my schedule and plans. I have a lot of learn in this area.
What about the business?
Everything goes on the table.
I'm giving myself time to figure out what I'll pick back up after the summer. And I'm open to allowing new and creative ideas to find their way into my consciousness during my rest.
There's a lot in my business that I've been doing for years, and I'd like to find out what I want to keep doing, once I give myself the space to rest and heal.
It would mean a lot to me if you chose to support my USANA business while I'm off. If you’re already purchasing things like probiotics, digestive enzymes, or vitamins & minerals, I’d love it if you made a purchase directly from my website. USANA will take care of processing the payment, shipping the product and customer support & returns. I earn a small commission from these orders, and this helps our family financially while I’m taking my break.
My Wake Up With Gratitude shop will be closed for the summer as I fulfill and ship these order myself. If you’d like to be notified when the 2023 Vancouver Island Sunrises Calendar will be available for pre-order, sign up here.
There are over 180 episodes of the Wake Up With Gratitude podcast that you can catch up on this summer. Here are few of my favorites (links are for Apple Podcast):
#185 - How Can Gratitude Help Us When We Are In Our Toughest Times? (Chris Schembra)
To listen via other apps or on the web: https://www.podpage.com/wake-up-with-gratitude/
Thank you for your support my friends and I'll see you in September!