The Startup Founder’s Wellness Toolbox: Practical Techniques and Resources for Avoiding Burnout

The Startup Founder’s Wellness Toolbox: Practical Techniques and Resources for Avoiding Burnout

Founder burnout is a very real danger in all forms of entrepreneurship. While it’s very easy to brush off in its earliest stages, if it becomes acute or chronic, it can significantly impact productivity, success, mental health, and overall wellbeing.

When suffering from burnout, you won’t be able to get nearly as much done, and your project will start to stagnate. You will also have a hard time relaxing, sleeping, or enjoying any of the hobbies and interactions you once used to cherish.

Here are some practical techniques and resources you should incorporate into your wellness toolbox to prevent burnout and help you achieve your goals without driving yourself off a cliff.

Improve Your Diet

You are, quite literally, what you eat. If you fuel your passions with caffeine, sugar, and fast food, you won’t just pack on some unwanted pounds. You will also become mentally sluggish, more irritable, and eventually less productive.

If you ensure that your plate is full of lean protein, fatty fish, leafy greens, plenty of fruits and vegetables, and whole grains, you will feel better in your body, and your mental health will experience a boost as well.

Make Time for Exercise

Another amazing way to prevent burnout, boost mental health and stay well in the long term is exercise. Ever wonder why all those world-famous entrepreneurs spend an hour a day in the gym? It’s not because they want to look ripped. It’s because they know it will enhance their performance.

A combination of light cardio and weightlifting is the best way to experience all the benefits of exercise. You can, however, find another routine that works for you better, like yoga, kickboxing, or even playing a sport.

Walk It Off

Walking is another great way to move your body and stave off the effects of burnout. If you think you don’t have enough time in your day for it, think again. If Mr. Beast can walk 12.500 steps a day, so can you.

Take a leaf out of his book: walk while talking on the phone, walk while listening to an audiobook. Engaging your mind while also engaging your body and walking will feel less like a distraction and more like a productive routine.

Rest Is Productive

Resting is often seen by overachievers as a complete waste of time. Why should you be doing “nothing” when there are so many other things you could be doing?

However, rest is a vital part of productivity, and not its complete opposite. Without proper rest, your productivity levels will plummet over time, and you will end up wasting much more time than if you had just paused for a break.

Incorporate both small, daily rests and longer, weekly and monthly breaks into your schedule. Get up every hour and stretch. Stop looking at a screen and try looking out the window. Take a weekend trip every couple of months. Make sure to completely pause all work-related activities at least once a year for at least a whole ten days.

Diversify Your Income Streams

If you can, try not to rely on your startup as your only means of income. It will make life more stressful, and you’ll burn out faster if you need to chase a specific amount of money every month.

Establish various income streams. Create a course or an ebook, for example. Or consider earning money from social media or from another business.

You can also invest in real estate, stocks, and other people’s businesses. Stocks that yield dividends can be a lucrative choice. You can use a dividend calculator to figure out what you can potentially earn so that you can gauge how much money might be coming in and at what time.

Do your best to make prudent investment choices, though. Don’t take undue risks, as the goal here is to have a steady stream of income that will make life less stressful, not add to the daily anxiety.

Find the Right Help

As a founder, you can immensely benefit from having a mentor who can show you the ropes, so to speak. In fact, having more than one can help you get to your goal even faster.

You are looking for someone with specific experience who can teach you what you lack. They don’t necessarily have to run the same type of business as you. As long as they’ve had to make the same types of growth-oriented decisions, you can learn a lot.

You can look for a mentor online or in person. When networking, always keep an eye out for people whom you click with and who can share some of their wisdom with you.

Don’t Do It Alone

On a very similar note, make sure you are not the only one who does all the work, either at home or at the office.

Look for a co-founder whom you share the same goals and passions with. They can shoulder some of the responsibility and make some of the decisions, so you can breathe more easily.

If you don’t want to work with a co-founder, make sure to hire the best people very early on. You will need someone who has great managerial skills, someone who can market and sell well, and someone who can do the legwork. Even if all of these roles are initially filled by you or one other person, make sure to hire additional hands as soon as feasible.

When it comes to your personal life, make sure to delegate whatever you can. If you live with a partner, ask them to shoulder a bit more of the housework until you overcome the initial hurdles. Make sure they feel appreciated, though. The last thing you want is to abuse someone’s goodwill and make them feel overworked and unvalued.

If you live alone, outsource whatever you can. Cooking, the laundry, cleaning: anything that you really don’t enjoy doing that you can save time on. Save a few chores for yourself if they help you relax and manage your mind.

Personalize Your Routines

It’s important to find a routine that works for you as early on as possible. Optimize not just how you do your work but what you do in the morning and evening as well and how you handle errands and obligations of a personal nature.

You can try time blocking or writing lists. You can use a productivity app or write everything down by hand. The key is to figure out what works best for you.

Also consider the way you want to start and end your day. What gives you the most energy in the morning? What should you eat? When should you work out? When are you most productive, and when do your energy levels drop?

Change Your Perspective

As a founder, you will spend most of your time looking at the same things. You will be thinking about the same problems, working on the same goals, overcoming constant challenges.

In order to prevent burnout, you need to remind yourself to change your perspective.

Start by literally changing what you are looking at. Don’t work at the office all day, every day. Stay and work from home, or go out to a coffee shop and work from there.

Take a step back every month and every quarter and look at what you have achieved so far. What has worked well and what hasn’t? What can you change? The original business plan you created when you started out should still be valid, but there will undoubtedly be room for tweaks and adjustments.

Don’t let yourself get bogged down by the everyday grind. Look at the bigger picture and make sure you are still on the right track.

Recharge Your Batteries

Finally, you will need to find a way to replenish all your batteries: physically, mentally, emotionally, creatively. There are seven types of rest we all need. Failing to attend to just one of them on a regular basis can lead to burnout.

Consider which activities replenish your various energy, and find the time for them as often as needed. Don’t skip or shuffle them around because of a work obligation. They are just as important as speaking to a new client or looking at the latest budget reports.

How you recharge best will again be a very personal choice. Make a list of the things that truly relax you and that you love doing and go from there.

Wrapping Up

Avoiding founder burnout will take a lot of organization, mindfulness, and awareness. Don’t ignore the signs and try to push yourself harder. Coming back from burnout is much, much more difficult than preventing it.