How To Recover from Burnout? 8-Step Plan for Entrepreneurs

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Peter Shallard
CEO | Commit Action |


Just reading the word probably sends a wave of exhaustion through your body.

As an entrepreneur, you’ve pushed yourself to the brink, day after day, fighting a constant battle between your own high standards and limited time.

You’ve poured your heart and soul into your business - but now you feel empty.

The passion that once propelled you out of bed in the morning is gone. Instead, your business feels like a burden dragging you underwater.

You’re irritable and isolated, and even minor tasks feel insurmountable. This fatigue has seeped in slowly before settling into your bones. 

Now, just getting through each day feels like a monumental climb.

If this resonates, you’re likely burnt out. But you can recover without fully pressing pause.

Many entrepreneurs before you have recovered from similar situations, only to come back stronger and happier than ever. 

It starts by understanding the problem, then taking those first few steps forward - into being a version of yourself that bursts with revived energy and purpose.

The path won't be easy. 

But going from barely surviving each day to thriving with your business is possible.

In this guide, we'll walk through the techniques our expert coaches at Commit Action use to guide overwhelmed entrepreneurs just like you to reignite their drive and resilience. 

What Is Burnout and Why Are Entrepreneurs Prone to It?

Burnout is the point of complete flameout, where your entrepreneurial engine seizes up from constant stress. You feel exhausted - emotionally, mentally, and physically. 

According to the World Health Organization, burnout is defined by three warning lights:

  • Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion

  • Increased mental distance/negativity related to your job

  • Reduced productivity or capability 

Unlike ordinary stress or fatigue, the exhaustion of burnout can linger for long periods, progressively getting worse. 

Entrepreneurs are particularly susceptible to burnout due to a few key factors:

1. Personality Traits

Passion, perfectionism and a relentless drive to achieve goals are common entrepreneurial traits that easily lead to overwork and inadequate self-care. 

When work is deeply personal, you're willing to sacrifice everything for the mission. But this quickly turns unsustainable without recovery.

2. Business Demands 

The daily demands of entrepreneurship also test limits - long hours, constant problem-solving, undefined responsibilities, pressure to deliver, and feeling like you can never disconnect fully.

Juggling a constant flood of urgent tasks makes it tough for you to carve out time for rejuvenation and working on your business, not just in it. 

3. Isolation

Entrepreneurs often lack close team members, peers, or organizational infrastructure to provide support. Without sounding boards, warning signs go unnoticed and compound over time.

You may even isolate yourself more as burnout sets in, which only intensifies the spiral. Humans aren't meant to tackle challenges alone.

4. Identity 

When your business and self-worth are so closely linked, setbacks feel like personal failures instead of motivating you to act on them. 

Letting your venture define you entirely leaves no separation for a balanced life. Preventable mistakes feel crushing to your soul.

5. Control

The tendency to want full control over everything also backfires. An inability to delegate work to others removes key opportunities to reduce workload and gain perspective.

Micromanaging everything ultimately limits growth velocity, flexibility, and relief.

Combine these dynamics, and it's easy to see why entrepreneurs end up burnt out without realizing it. The passion that provides purpose can also push you to unhealthy extremes. 

But by recognizing these tendencies ahead of time, you can take preventative steps and catch burnout faster.

Read also: Master the art of time management for entrepreneurial success and uncover essential techniques and strategies for efficient time use!

How To Spot Early Burnout Signs as an Entrepreneur?

entrepreneur burnout.pngSince burnout develops gradually, it's possible to catch it early if you know the initial symptoms. 

Here are some common early red flags and pivot points to monitor closely in yourself as an entrepreneur:

1. Worsening exhaustion 

The exhaustion of burnout is not just physical tiredness, but deep emotional fatigue. You feel profound emotional strain waking up and dragging yourself through formerly enjoyable tasks. 

Where you once had energy and enthusiasm to power through your day, now even minor issues feel like monumental efforts. The joy and passion are completely drained from your work.

2. Growing cynicism

Cynical thoughts start creeping in, questioning the purpose behind what you're working on. You resent projects that used to excite you and start devaluing the business you worked hard to build. 

Negativity breeds more negativity in a downward spiral.

3. Poor concentration 

You have great difficulty concentrating on mentally intensive work. Even simple tasks that used to flow now require exhaustive effort to focus on. 

You get distracted constantly, make careless mistakes, and struggle to power through decisions that used to feel effortless.

4. Lack of satisfaction

Things that brought you a profound sense of satisfaction and accomplishment in the past, like landing a big client or achieving a milestone, now feel empty. 

No matter how much you achieve externally, none of it seems to lift your internal sense of joy or pride anymore.

5. Withdrawing from connections 

Previously, you used to look forward to activities with close friends, family, and colleagues, but now you increasingly isolate yourself. 

You turn down social invitations, defer commitments, disengage from asking others for support, and retreat inward rather than seeking the social connections needed to recover yourself.

6. Headaches, stomach issues, insomnia

You experience more headaches, stomach issues, muscle tightness, nausea, and insomnia. The constant anxious thoughts make it impossible to quiet your mind enough to fall or stay asleep. 

Your body feels the effects of prolonged mental strain.

7. Short temper, impatience, irritability 

Your fuse becomes shorter and shorter where even minor frustrations lead to disproportionate outbursts of frustration or anger. Things that you would have brushed off in the past now linger and ruin your entire mood. 

You have very little patience and have a constant feeling of being on edge.

Read also: Are you struggling with imposter syndrome? Learn how to overcome imposter syndrome with our practical strategies and boost your confidence as an entrepreneur!

How To Recover from Burnout While Still Working and Build Long-Term Resilience?

overcoming entrepreneur burnout.pngWhen you're burnt out but can't fully press pause, you've to take action to lighten the load. Here are 8 strategies to create some breathing room while keeping your business going:

1. Seek social support

Be vulnerably honest with mentors, family, friends, or colleagues about your struggles. Just voicing it helps release the burden, and they'll likely offer empathy or assistance.

Actively connecting with others gives you perspective and prevents you from spiraling into isolation.

Also, consider finding an accountability partner or coach to regularly share struggles with - we humans aren't meant to battle alone. Entrepreneurs especially don’t succeed as lone wolves. Get support in place. 

2. Review priorities ruthlessly

Use the Eisenhower Matrix to triage your calendar and commit to only the truly urgent/important tasks for now. No exceptions should be made here. 

The Eisenhower Matrix is a prioritization framework that categorizes tasks into four types:

  • Urgent and Important (Do First)

  • Important but Not Urgent (Schedule/Plan)

  • Urgent but Not Important (Delegate or Delay)

  • Neither Urgent nor Important (Eliminate)

Anything non-essential has to go - delegate or delay it. You've to create pockets of time for recovery. Don't let the merely urgent stuff distract you.

Our coaches at Commit Action can guide you through this prioritization process during your weekly planning sessions, ensuring you stay focused on your most critical priorities.

3. Delegate intelligently

Rather than just tossing tasks out in the abstract, have team members or assistants directly observe your workflow to identify what they can take off your plate. Let them design the streamlined systems. 

The closer to the work, the better they can relieve your burden.

4. Replenish through rest

Make sleep an ironclad priority - implement good sleep hygiene practices like preventing devices two hours before sleep, limiting caffeine intake during the day, using black curtains, etc. 

Also, protect time during the day for power naps, lounging, and any restorative activity that helps you recharge.

5. Reconnect with purpose

Reflect on your origin story - why you started this business in the first place? How can you make a deeper impact through your work? 

Reconnecting to your purpose and mission can instantly rekindle motivation and energy.

6. Unplug completely

If you can take time off, resist the urge to fill it with more productivity. Your mind desperately needs a breather.

Plan an active getaway like hiking or surfing that forces you into the present moment so you don't sit around ruminating.

7. Recover through ‘play’

Schedule activities that engage your innate sense of play - sports, video games, hobbies - anything that brings joy and laughter. 

Leaning into play provides huge psychological benefits like relieving stress, improving mood, boosting creativity, and strengthening social connections.

8. Journal mindfully

As the last step before bed, dump all your swirling thoughts, to-do's, and worries onto paper. This releases your mind from endlessly overthinking them and eases anxiety.

Implementing just a few of these tactics has the power to ease your stress, even if marginally at first. But remember - lasting change requires establishing healthy habits long-term.

While these strategies can help you recover in the short term, the key to preventing future burnout is establishing long-term resilience.

This requires transforming both your daily habits and underlying mindsets to build your capacity to handle stress. It's about strengthening your physical, mental, and emotional immune system.

Specifically, focus on cultivating your routines and practices across four key areas:

  • Renew your energy: Carve out time for recharging activities that you enjoy - hobbies, close connections, solo downtime and schedule these as priorities.

  • Manage stress adaptively: Stay on top of your stress through daily habits like exercise, journaling, and meditation, and have a plan to recognize and correct overload.

  • Cultivate work-life harmony: Set firm boundaries on your work time and scope. Make space for other parts of life and avoid over-identifying with just your business. 

  • Adopt a growth mindset: View challenges as lessons to learn from rather than signs to quit and stay focused on progress over perfection.

Making incremental improvements across these four pillars will transform your resilience. With time and consistency, you'll be equipped to thrive in the face of entrepreneurial demands.

Maximize Your Business Potential: Ready to maximize your business potential but not sure where to start? Our Entrepreneur Personality Test gives you a detailed analysis of your entrepreneurial traits, helping you focus on areas that will drive your business growth.

Burnout is Reversible - Take the First Step Today

recovery from burnout.pngBurnout is a real risk for passionate, driven entrepreneurs, but it can be reversed before it's too late.

While quick fixes like delegating and saying ‘no’ provide initial relief, lasting solutions require changes tailored to your unique needs and psychology.

Sustainable recovery takes renewing joy, managing stress adaptively, creating work-life harmony, and adopting a flexible growth mindset. It also requires leveraging social support and accountability.

At Commit Action, we specialize in helping burnt-out entrepreneurs like you recover for good through our customized coaching.

Our coaches take a holistic approach, equipping you with frameworks to:

  • Reframe limiting mindsets draining your motivation

  • Build healthy daily habits and rituals

  • Create realistic schedules protecting focus time

  • Stay accountable to progress through weekly planning

We empower entrepreneurs to reverse burnout by instituting optimal habits, mindset, and support systems to thrive in your business sustainably.

Our proven combination of psychology-based coaching, accountability, and planning builds the resilience and motivation needed to sustain passion and avoid burnout long-term.

If you're ready to reignite your purpose and prevent burnout from taking hold again, click here to learn more about our coaching process.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1.  What are some quick self-care activities I can do without taking extended time off?

Taking a walk outdoors, reading for pleasure, calling a friend, meditating, gentle stretching, journaling, and saying no to non-essential tasks can provide some quick relief.

2. How can I tell the difference between burnout and ordinary stress?

Burnout persists for long periods, progressively worsening without relief from usual coping strategies. Stress is more temporary and acute. Pay close attention to any exhaustion, cynicism, or detachment lasting over 2 weeks.

3. How do I have difficult conversations about reducing responsibilities or asking for help?

Frame the conversation around your strong commitment to doing your best work by preventing fatigue from setting in. Come prepared with specific help or changes you need and emphasize your strong commitment.

4. Are there benefits to taking a complete sabbatical or short break when burnt out?

Taking a break allows you to fully decompress without any work pressures. You'll return feeling renewed mentally and inspired to rebuild rather than forcing recovery while still working.

5. How long does it typically take to recover from severe burnout?

It depends deeply on the duration and causes, but severe burnout often requires a minimum of 1-3 months to fully incorporate major lifestyle changes to recover fully. 

6. What should I do if I keep relapsing into burnout?

Seek expert coaching or mental health support. There are likely unaddressed root issues that require you to get help modifying ingrained thoughts and work patterns long-term. 

7. What happens to the brain after prolonged burnout?

Studies show burnout shrinks the prefrontal cortex related to executive function while expanding the amygdala related to stress. But these changes are reversible through recovery and resilience building.

8. Is burnout permanent or temporary?

With proper support and committed recovery steps, burnout is absolutely recoverable. But without action, it can become a chronic state, so early intervention is key for full recovery.

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