I don’t think any of us started our health coach training fully realizing what was going to be involved behind the scenes of building a successful business:
Learning things like marketing, social media, building an email list, blogging, and figuring out your target market (just to name a few).
No matter what type of business you’re running, the potential to experience burnout is very real, and it can sneak up on you.
Burnout is described as feeling physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted. You feel like you have hit a wall, and you feel completely wiped out. You stop enjoying the work you once loved and felt passionate about.
Some common causes of burnout include:
- Working too many hours each day
- Not taking enough time off during the week
- Not taking vacations during the year
- Not delegating enough tasks, and juggling way too many tasks and projects at one time
We all experience the ‘honeymoon’ phase after we graduate as a health coach, right? And then we realize it takes WORK to get clients.
We tend to think “Oh, that won’t happen to me, I’m good.” We don’t want to feel like we’re vulnerable in that way. I know, because that’s what I thought! Well, I was wrong.
I hit burnout last year, and once I did I was like “Ohhhhh…now I get it. This is what people mean by burning out!”
I was working on a big launch, and that’s when it happened for me. I pushed through the launch, but after that, I was completely wiped out. It wasn’t just that one particular project – I was not taking enough down time or “me-time,” I was working too many hours, and the big one for me was that I was trying to do it all myself. BIG mistake!
Experiencing my own episode of burnout made me reevaluate what I was doing, how I was doing it and what I was going to need to do differently moving ahead.
Fortunately, I was able to take some down time to recharge, reflect and regroup. It was probably the best thing I could have done because while it taught me a valuable lesson, it also allowed me to come back even stronger.
I want people to learn from my mistakes, so I’m going to cover a few ideas for how you can prevent this from happening to you too. I know I’m not the only one that has dealt with this issue, so I’m hoping you find these tips helpful.
Here are my 7 top tips for avoiding burnout:
- Know your priorities. When you have a firm grasp of your priorities, it makes it easier to say no to the things that don’t fit into your life right now. Because my family is the most important thing, I schedule everything else around that, and it works really well. After I take my kids to school in the morning, I exercise, so I do my best to schedule appointments, phone calls or anything else after that. I know if I leave it until later, it won’t happen.
- Put yourself first. If you are burned out, you are no good to anyone. What do you need in order to function at an optimal level? Is it getting enough sleep, exercising, meditation, time alone? Figure out what it is that recharges you and brings you joy. Decide how you can take care of yourself in some way each day, and commit to that, even if it is just for 20-30 minutes.
- Be in charge of your schedule, don’t let your schedule be in charge of you. Along the lines of scheduling, work on one project at a time to completion, rather than multi-tasking and working on several things at one time. This will allow you to be more productive and feel more accomplished most days.
- Schedule time off, and know when to unplug. What time of day do you need to stop working? It’s not always easy to do, but it is so important. Set work hours. You also need at least one day a week that is a non-working day so you can get a break and recharge. If you feel that you can’t take off one full day, you can do two half days. If you don’t take time off, you WILL burn out eventually.
- Delegate and outsource. You can’t do it all yourself, and you shouldn’t try to – I know this firsthand. Decide the things you can hand off to someone else to do. You can start with a few simple things, and add more later. Make a list of all the things you do in your business, and look at what you can outsource. Upwork.com is one option for finding all kinds of help including a virtual assistant. You can also ask colleagues for a recommendation. I have a great blog post on this topic – 6 Signs That It’s Time to Start Outsourcing, and How to Get Started.
- Prioritize projects. If you feel like you’re spinning your wheels and not making progress, it may be that you haven’t prioritized your plan of action, and need to map out your exact steps and timeline. It’s way too easy to get distracted and get thrown off track. Decide on your plan of action for at least the next 90 days and stick to it. Don’t focus on a dozen different things at one time – pick one or two at a time so you can do them well and take them to completion. You will feel so much less stressed and so much more productive and accomplished. Put on those blinders and move, full steam ahead.
- Connect with others in your field so you are not alone. I think it’s easy to feel a bit lonely in this field. Your family and friends might not really get what it is that you do, so you want to surround yourself with people that DO understands. Do you have a peer coach, a business coach or someone you can talk to or bounce ideas off of? This made a huge difference for me when I was in the health coach training program. There was another student that I aligned with, and we became peer coaches so we could check in with each other, ask questions and just be there to support each other.
I now have a weekly mastermind call with two other colleagues, and that’s a tremendous help. We can bounce ideas off of one another and get feedback and support. Our weekly mastermind has been priceless, so you can always start your own.
You can also connect with your peers online. I have a Facebook group just for health coaches – you can find us here > Health Coach Peer Support <. This group is for certified health coaches, wellness professionals, or certified fitness trainers – so if that’s you, feel free to request to join!
No matter what type of business you have, it takes time and effort to build, and it does not happen overnight.
If you truly love being a health coach, and you feel that it’s your calling, there are always resources available to help you do whatever it is that you want to do. You can build a successful business without burning out in the process.
If you have any tips for avoiding burnout, or if you found this helpful, leave a comment below 🙂