Boss burnout: Spot warning signs in yourself

From workloads to wellbeing, the COVID-19 pandemic poses many challenges.

As a small business owner or manager, it’s important to keep an eye on your stress levels. Learn to spot warning signs and pick up tips to improve your wellbeing. Your health and happiness — and your business — will benefit.

How to help yourself:

Learn the signs of stress. Think about when you notice stress in yourself — what are your personal warning signs?

What helps ease your stress? If you’re not sure where to start, try these suggestions:

  • Give yourself permission to not be at your best.
  • Be kind to yourself, as well as to others.
  • Involve others in problem solving. Talk to your team, other business owners, a mentor.
  • Look after your physical health, get sleep, and eat well. Your mind can’t work well if the engine runs on empty. Feel like you don’t have a spare minute for even a walk around the block? Try a walking meeting.
  • Take notice of small things each day that make you feel good. Try and make time to do more of these things.

“Don’t think of one huge problem. Break it down. If you can solve one of these problems, that will help reduce your stress,” says Ducat. Recognise the small goals you achieve, rather than focusing on the next one you haven’t started.

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Coping under pressure

  • Don’t try to do everything yourself.
  • Avoid toxic positivity. It’s unrealistic and unhelpful to pretend everything is fine.
  • Don’t tell yourself or others to just relax. It won’t work — and might even make you feel more tense.
  • Beware trying to “fix” yourself or others. It’s OK to sometimes feel frustrated or angry. Use these feelings as a wellbeing barometer. If they start to build up, it’s a sign to ease pressure on yourself.

“Just step back and go ‘I am angry’ or ‘I am upset’,” says Ducat. “And then think about how you can positively deal with those feelings.”