By Nicole Hope, The Milspo Project, Co-Founder
Exhaustion. Complete and utter exhaustion. Emotional exhaustion. Physical exhaustion. Mental exhaustion. You know the kind where you've been wearing yoga pants every day for weeks and “treating yourself” to a few too many bags of potato chips and chocolate, you don't even want to get out of bed, and you cringe when your phone rings. If that sounds familiar, you may have...
Burnout (n.) physical or mental collapse caused by overwork or stress. Symptoms include: fatigue, forgetfulness, chest pain or headaches, anxiety, and even anger. Ironically, burnout affects those that are the most motivated and hardest working! Yes, the high achievers with the typical “can do” attitude. These are the people who are pushing themselves further and harder, oftentimes in their professional career or business, constantly striving for that next level.
Business ownership is hard. We all need to sit down and just acknowledge that. You know what else is hard? Deployments, PCSs, TDYs, and military life in general. And you... you crazy, independent, courageous, person you... you decided to do all of these things at the same time!
Too often, military spouses internalize the stress of their circumstances and feel the need to prove to the world that they've got it all together. They strive for super human perfection, and are their own worst critics when life isn't running smoothly. Friend, I am here to tell you today that it is HARD being a successful business owner and it is HARD being a military spouse. You have chosen two incredibly difficult roles and identities to mesh together.
So give yourself a break.
Allow yourself a period of rest and true relaxation! Here are a few of my favorite tips to re-charge and prevent burnout. What would you add to this list?
You just have to. Period. It will help you stay positive and healthy! If you're not sleeping enough, you're doing yourself and your productivity levels a huge disservice. Go to bed a little earlier and your body will thank you :)
2. Cut out that sugar.
What?? Is this a weight loss blog? Not only is sugar bad for the physique, it's also literally bad for everything else in your life, including your brain! Try a month without sugar and monitor your happiness, productivity, energy, and creativity levels. Any changes?
3. Analyze your inner circle.
Who are the 5 people you spend the most time with? Are they energy givers or energy takers? If you begin to notice that you do more “filling up” than you are being filled by those people, it's time to figure out why that is and how to fix it. Healthy relationships mutually give energy to each other.
4. Read a book. Fiction.
Yes, reading self-help and business books are exciting and educational. But they are not relaxing. Even if you genuinely enjoy them! I challenge you to pick up a piece of fiction from the New York Times best seller's list and set aside time to read each day.
5. Connect with other like-minded individuals.
The Milspo Project's community of military spouse business owners stretches across the nation. We use Facebook to connect with each other, ask questions, and offer much needed support through our “Mastermind group”. Want to join? Just fill out your information in that little bar at the bottom of this screen :) And if for some reason, you don't see it, send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additionally, check and see if there is a local chapter in your area. If there isn't, consider starting one! Local chapters are the best way to meet positive military spouses who are committed to growing their businesses and affecting change in their communities. http://www.themilspoproject.com/#local-chapters
6. Turn your phone and computer off. Every night.
Your home is your sanctuary. If you work from home, creating that place of relaxation can be difficult. Be purposeful about turning your phone off in the evenings and the weekends if possible. Use that time to connect with your spouse and family. Work will still be there waiting for you on Monday :)