Written by: Mascha Mooy
A burnout. What is it? Why do we get burned out? Why is it meaningful? And most important: What can we do to overcome one?
We get burned out when we ask too much of ourselves for too long. You can see it as coming to a complete standstill. You have trouble with decision-making, and with managing tasks and responsibilities. The simplest tasks have become impossible.
Let me give you an example. When you go to work, you probably want to give it your best. You do this the same in your social life, you work your butt off in the gym, and in the evening you are of course the world’s best mom or dad there is. You’re living larger than life, loving the adrenalin and everything else that belongs to this fab lifestyle.
But what if one day you wake up and you think: “the hell with it all, I am going to have an indoor-day” (and by indoor-day I mean: “I am going to stay in bed for the rest of the day”). It’s no problem at all to have one of these, but having multiple indoor-days isn’t a very good sign. In fact, it’s a sign that you might have a (small) burnout and surely you don’t need that, do you? You simply don’t have the time! This might mean you have a burnout.
Overcoming a burnout
So, the big bad burnout monster is here and it’s here to stay. Now what? It’s all pretty simple. The most important thing you should do is eat, live, sleep, work and play on a regular basis. Pretty boring, some might say, but it’s the only way to recovery. Going on like nothing’s the matter is not recommended, because your symptoms will only worsen. So stop living in the fast lane and take things back to the basics. Put you at the top of your priority list.
The first thing to do is to try and be nice to yourself. Eat healthy and go out for a simple walk in the park. Walk with your head straight up and look at the horizon. Do this every other day for 30 minutes! Go to your GP and focus on you! Working is not an option right now. You have to be good to yourself and take it easy.
The next tip is going to the gym. Don’t work out like you´re preparing for some competition. Your body needs more recovery time now than ever. So, workout like your grandmother. Easy does it! Don’t care about what anybody else thinks. This is your journey, not theirs.
You can ask a personal trainer for assistance or a workout plan, but focus on relaxation. Now is not the time for “no pain, no gain”. Don’t rush it. Drink plenty of water and quit those energy drinks to boost your metabolism or whatever the marketing slogan is. Focus on healthy foods. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables.
During a burnout your body is trying to recover, but it’s very difficult so don’t force anything. Take all the time you need to recover. Try to enjoy the little things and if your complaints get any worse, don’t ignore it – your body is trying to tell you something. You only have one body, so be good to it.
Look on the bright side
Sometimes you might think that a burnout is a lonely trip, and you’re absolutely right. But remember one thing: it’s the most valuable journey you can ever make. It’s absolutely not the nicest or the easiest, but it sure is the most valuable one. A burnout is the ultimate way to get to know yourself, to get to know your boundaries. But also to get to know who you really are, what you want in life, to learn how to recognize, feel and cluster your emotions. So even if you have the nasty experience of a burnout, just remember that there’s a silver lining!
It’s easy to work longer hours and take fewer breaks when working from home. Why not put a reminder in your diary when you plan to finish working? Also make sure you take at least a 30-minute lunch break. If you can, try to get some fresh air and go for a short walk.
Listen to your heart and body and, every now and then, release your brains and set them on “energy-saving” mode.
Anna Molnár is a business coach for female entrepreneurs, with an immense passion for languages and literature, a special analytic eye for complex situations and a huge drive to get the best out of people and their companies. I help ambitious businesswomen to make themselves and their companies blossom by creating a solid and healthy business strategy, so they work smarter instead of harder. I also help them create real impact, high income and time with loved ones.
What is your story and what led you to join the entrepreneurial world?
When I turned 40, I felt a turning point in my life. I had it all: a nice job, a nice partner, a nice house, etc., but I wasn’t feeling fulfilled. I felt the need to create something valuable with all my talents, experience, expertise and passion. I realized that I wanted to create my own company, so that I could help other women to live their best life. This is how Blossom Empowering Events was born.
What have you learned in your entrepreneurial career?
My entrepreneurial career has taught me so much about myself, my hopes and my fears. It has also taught me that we all need support, no matter on what level we are. It’s essential to surround yourself with a support system, where it’s safe to ask questions and be vulnerable. This way you can really overcome the hurdles on your way, instead of just ignoring them and making them worse.
What is one thing you still really want to do in your entrepreneurial career?
I would love to help Japanese female entrepreneurs to thrive. I love Japan and the Japanese culture. It would make me enormously proud if I could help Japanese women to be more independent, while respecting their traditions.
Looking back, what is one thing you would do different?
Asking for help a lot sooner. Every week that goes by unresolved is a week too much.
What would you advise women starting their journeys in the entrepreneurial space?
Surround yourself with people who believe in your capacities. Make a serious plan for your business and be flexible while executing it. Get into action, ask questions, fail, learn and get going again. And don’t forget to enjoy the ride! Be professional, but don’t be too serious. Enjoy the creativity and the freedom that comes with being an entrepreneur and inspire others to do the same!
What is the reason you joined FEMpreneurhulp?
I needed some support myself, and as a thank you I wanted to give back. There is always something you can do for someone else.
What are common challenges women face in the startup world and how can we tackle them according to you?
Common challenges are perfectionism, procrastination, wanting to please everyone, impostor syndrome, difficulty to talk about money and asking for the sale, being too humble, wanting to do and be everything for everyone, being overworked… to just name a few. Awareness is the first step to tackle them all. Understand what your most common pitfall is and work on overcoming it.
Anything else you would like to share?
If you have difficulty to keep focus, if your plans don’t tend to work, if you are out of ideas of what to do next, if you have too many ideas and don’t know where to start, if you always start but hardly ever finish, if you are always busy and don’t see the difference between weekdays and weekends anymore, if you could use some support to take some tough decisions … reach out to me. Together we can map out your situation, find your personal & professional goals and create a resilient plan. I’ll guide you through your commitment, so that you can enjoy both your private and professional life with impact and without feeling guilty.
Gervaise Coebergh is owner of several businesses in media, communications and leisure.
When I was young I had no clue what to do for a living. Just like my female ancestors, I wasn’t really supposed to go working – other than as a housewife. You can hardly understand that nowadays, but that was how it was. Nevertheless, the entrepreneurial spirit is in my DNA. And just like my male ancestors, I started my own business along the way. And I did it well.
I trust my skills and dedication;
I use my intuition and common sense;
I like to be surrounded by warm, smart and talented professionals;
I like to make my own choices;
I am eager to win;
I do not mind to work hard and – very important too – I like to make other people (read here: clients) happy.
My advice to women that start their entrepreneurial journey would be that they need to be able to think BIG. Don’t lose energy on details and dare to invest (also money) to grow. You need to be prepared to make choices that you didn’t expect to make. What choice will you make when your biggest client needs you, just on the day that your firstborn turns 1? Exactly! Be prepared. If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen.
FEMpreneurhulp is a good initiative because it advises women in a very realistic way. No pink glasses, but honest stories and advise, based on personal experience. Also, the listening ear of a peer can be very helpful and comforting. Next to this, the network of FEMpreneurhulp is of great value. For me, it feels good to share my knowledge and experience so that others can benefit from it. Because, yes, female entrepreneurs do lack advantages that men have. So let’s give each other some little extra support!