Holly Wood

Entrepreneurial Burnout: How to Recognise the Signs & Avoid It

by | Jul 4, 2024 | Business Growth, Coaching, Mindset, Positive Psychology

When I first experienced entrepreneurial burnout, it felt like my spark had been snuffed out. It had crept up on me too and although I loved my job, my phsycial and emotional health was beginning to suffer. 

According to a study by Michael A. Freeman, an American psychologist, entrepreneurs are 50% more likely to report having a mental health condition, with burnout being a significant issue. Another survey by Small Business Trends found that 72% of small business owners report feeling overwhelmed.

Recognising the Signs of Entrepreneurial Burnout

Luckily, as a pyschologist and coach, I was equipped with a toolbox I could dip-into to combat the burnout & restore.

The most important thing is to recognise the signs of burnout and they may look different for everyone.

Here are the red flags I encountered:

1. Brain Fog, Indecision & Procrastination

Imagine trying to navigate through a thick fog—every decision feels monumental, & you can’t seem to get anything done. That’s brain fog for you. It’s not just about forgetting where you left your keys; it’s like your brain is on strike, refusing to make even the simplest decisions.

2. Self-Doubt, Self-Judgment & Self-Criticism

Ah, the inner critic. Suddenly, everything you do feels like it’s not good enough. You start questioning your every move, doubting your abilities, & judging yourself harshly. It’s like having a tiny, relentless critic sitting on your shoulder, whispering negativity into your ear.

3. Strained Relationships

When burnout hits, it doesn’t just affect your work; it seeps into your personal life. You might find yourself snapping at loved ones, avoiding social gatherings, or feeling disconnected from those who matter most.

4. Shorter Temper & Less Patience

Remember that Zen-like patience you used to have? During burnout, it’s nowhere to be found. The smallest things can set you off, leaving you feeling irritable & on edge.

5. Lost Spark

That passion & excitement you once had for your business? Poof, gone. Work becomes a chore, & you start questioning why you ever started this journey in the first place.

6. Apathy & Lack of Interest in Your Work

When burnout sets in, your enthusiasm takes a nosedive. Projects that once thrilled you now seem dull & unimportant. You might find yourself going through the motions without any real interest or motivation.


“It’s okay to take a break. Entrepreneurs often forget that they need to recharge to keep their creativity & energy levels high”. Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook.

entrepreneurial burnout

How to Avoid Entrepreneurial Burnout

Now that we’ve identified the signs, let’s talk about how to keep entrepreneurial burnout at bay.

Here are some strategies that have helped me flourish & can help you too:

1. Prioritise Self-Care

You can’t pour from an empty cup, so make sure to fill yours first. Whether it’s a morning meditation, a walk in the park, or a good book, find what recharges you & make it a non-negotiable part of your routine.

2. Set Boundaries

Learn to say no. It’s okay to turn down projects or meetings that don’t align with your goals or that simply overwhelm you. Protect your time & energy like the valuable resources they are.

3. Delegate & Outsource

You don’t have to do everything yourself. Delegate tasks to your team or outsource them to freelancers. Focus on what you do best & let others handle the rest.

4. Take Breaks

Regular breaks are essential. Step away from your desk, stretch, breathe, & clear your mind. These mini-breaks can boost your productivity & creativity.

5. Connect with Others

Surround yourself with a supportive network of fellow entrepreneurs (like in our Flourish First Success Squad). Share your struggles & successes, seek advice, & offer support in return. Knowing you’re not alone can make a world of difference.

6. Reflect & Reassess

Regularly take a step back to reflect on your goals & progress. Are you still passionate about your business? Is there something you need to change or improve? This reflection can help you stay aligned with your vision & avoid burnout.

7. Seek Professional Help

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to seek help from a coach or therapist (you can explore the ways that I can support you here). They can provide valuable insights & strategies to help you manage stress & maintain your mental well-being.


Final Thoughts

Burnout is a sneaky beast, but with the right tools & mindset, you can keep it at bay.

Remember, your well-being is just as important as your business success, so it needs to be strategised in the same way.

Take care of yourself, set boundaries, & don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. After all, you deserve to flourish in every aspect of your life.

Interested in Positive Psychology Coaching?

There are a number of ways that you can work with me to experience positive psychology coaching – from one-to-one coaching, group programmes, online courses & downloadable tools.

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