There are a lot of burnt-out business owners in the online space.
I believe this is the case for a number of reasons:
- During the pandemic online business owners worked a whole lot more than you usually would because what else was there to do?
- Then coming out the other side, trying to keep up with that level of output while juggling all the things that resumed as normal
- Not to mention the online business space has grown a lot in the last 3 years and this has meant there’s increasing competition so you have to make sure you’re on top of marketing and sales more than ever before
- With this growth in the online space has also seen the rise of the guru who spruiks the “best way” to build a successful business is their preferred method of course. And even though it doesn’t align with your values and desires – you do it anyway because you don’t want to be left behind.
I mean – fuck it’s not surprising you’re feeling burnt out and not loving business life.
So what can you do about it?
Well, today’s guest on the How I Do Content Podcast is here to help!
Let me introduce you to Amanda Louisa
Meet Amanda Louisa, the powerhouse nervous system regulation coach for ambitious women ready to soar in life and business.
Formerly a recovering perfectionist and people-pleaser, she now empowers high-performing femmes to shatter their Good Girl conditioning, rediscover their soul-self, and rewire their nervous system to create soul-led lives.
She’s a passionate advocate for decolonising the wellness space and leading other rebellious women to revolutionise the way we co-exist on this planet. Amanda brings a unique blend of science and magic into her work.
On today’s episode, we dive into the rise of the burnt-out business owner.
It’s such an important conversation and as you’ll soon hear from Amanda – burnout happens BEFORE you get burnt out so NOW is the best time to start making changes!
So let’s begin.
Things You’ll Learn in This Episode of How I Do Content
- Amanda shares her experience with burning out TWICE
- The contributing factors to why we currently have so many burnt-out business owners
- What you can do if you feel like you’re headed towards burnout
No stranger to burnout, Amanda has experienced burnout not once but twice in the space of 10 years.
Her first experience of burnout was at 28. Amanda was what you would consider a high-performing and successful individual. At 22 she owned her first house, had completed a law degree and was working in corporate law. She went on to complete her Masters while still working full time in her ‘dream job’.
Despite ticking all of the boxes that society told her were important, Amanda wasn’t happy. She was drinking to excess and partying a lot to compensate for the fact that she actually felt pretty miserable in her ‘dream life’. She was working crazy hours just to be considered for her next promotion and continue to be ‘successful’.
She realised this lifestyle wasn’t sustainable and the utter exhaustion is what first led Amanda into mindfulness and meditation. She trained as a certified mindfulness and meditation teacher and started practising Reiki.
But as so often is the case, gradually as Amanda started to feel better – she found she wasn’t leaning into these principles as much. She slipped back into old habits and found herself once again immersed in the long work days and distracting herself with partying and drinking. Fast forward to 2020, and COVID lockdowns hit – suddenly there was no ability to socialise, party and engage in the distractions she was used to.
This was what Amanda refers to as her ‘rock bottom’ and after a diagnosis of CPTSD, she discovered how her trauma was showing up in her body and began her work with somatic experiencing.
External validation and the worthiness myth
We’re always striving for the next thing that’s going to help us reach happiness like it’s a destination. The trouble with this is that it is literally never-ending. It can also distract us from the things that truly fulfil us, help us regulate our nervous system and bring us joy.
If we hold other people’s goals as the gold standard by which we measure our success, we will never find true contentment. If we don’t hit those 6 & 7-figure weeks/months/years, we tell ourselves we aren’t enough.
The social media landscape does this in its own way too. Platforms are gamified to encourage us to be propelled by likes, follows and views. We internalise this version of success much the same as we do on larger scales – like with how much money we’re earning. If/when we don’t receive the external validation we were striving for, it affirms the internal dialogue we have with ourselves about not being enough.
Signs that you’re heading towards burnout
There are a number of states of dysregulation that you can exist in. This can manifest differently for different people. As individuals, we often have a go-to state that we revert to when we’re starting to experience burnout. These are usually a result of our sympathetic nervous system being activated and are typified by fight, flight, freeze or fawn behaviours.
- Constant mind chatter/frantic energy
- Zero motivation/withdrawal
- OTT people pleasing/taking on too many things
The 5,4,3,2,1 technique to help with nervous system dysregulation
This is a super simple exercise that you can perform in the moment to help with grounding and bringing your attention to the present moment.
To help calm your nervous system, look around your environment and name:
- 5 Things you can see
- 4 Things you can feel
- 3 Things you can hear
- 2 Things you can smell
- 1 Thing you can taste
Bringing our attention to the present moment reminds our nervous system that we aren’t in danger and helps to stabilise our emotional state.
Tips for reducing stress when you’re working in a corporate job
Depending on what your role is, will depend on what exactly is required of you in your job. These boundaries may not work for everyone but are a good starting point for developing a better work/life balance to help reduce stress that leads to burnout.
- Turn your computer off at the end of the workday
- Switching your phone onto Do Not Disturb in the evenings
- Not checking emails on non-work days
- Embrace the ebb and flow of your work, knowing that some periods will be busier than others and ensure you have good support in place during those peak times
- Practice a morning routine
- Don’t jump straight onto social media after waking in the morning
- Batch cooking nutritious food to have on hand
- Engaging a therapist
The stress response is a normal physiological process.
It is unrealistic to avoid all stressful situations in life, our stress response is a completely normal physiological reaction. Mindfulness and nervous system work will help soften the extremes during stressful times but won’t promise to eradicate them completely.
How can we avoid burnout as business owners?
In the past 12 months, we’ve seen so many big and small businesses changing tack to help overcome burnout and pursue a path that lights them up instead. We asked Amanda what advice she would offer to her 20-something-year-old self to help her avoid falling into the burnout trap.
1. Get clear on what it is you actually want
People pleasing is a dominant trait amongst women. We’re conditioned and rewarded from a young age to put others’ needs before our own. So when we feel compelled to put ourselves first, it can bring up a lot of anxiety. It goes against the grain of the self-sacrificing woman we’ve been taught to embody over generations.
Take time to sit with yourself, identify your values and what your ideal life would actually look like. What does success look like for you, outside of your family, friends and societal expectations?
If we are constantly chasing someone else’s goals and dreams, we’ll never feel satisfied. Know what lights you up each and every day instead of comparing what you have to everyone else.
2. Connect with your body
We are first and foremost, embodied beings. A lot of the communication that happens within our brains actually originates in our bodies. Living in a patriarchal society means we’re all living in our logical, thinking brains without stopping to check in and see what we’re responding to on a visceral level.
Reconnecting to our bodies means we can identify what’s happening before it gets to a stage of crisis or burnout. Becoming present and making decisions in each moment, instead of running on autopilot means we’ll make decisions that are going to be more nourishing for our nervous system. For example, do some gentle stretching when you’re feeling tired and anxious instead of reaching for that 3rd cup of coffee for the day.
3. Prioritise yourself and communicate what you need
It’s one thing to know what it is you desire but it can be tricky to take the steps to make it happen. It plays into that self-sacrificial part of ourselves where it feels uncomfortable to put our needs first. Communicate with those closest to you and work together if needed to find a way to meet your needs while maintaining your nervous system regulation. Don’t wait until you’re on the brink of a breakdown to make changes.
Be open to receiving support.
For people who have always put others’ needs before their own, it can be incredibly uncomfortable to ask for support and then actually receive it. Chances are though, those close to you want the best for you and want to help support you in your goals, too.
If you’re someone who struggles to receive from others – a quick reframe is to think of how you feel when someone asks for support from you. More often than not, you’re more than happy to help someone else out. Why wouldn’t it be the same for other people who want to help you too?
Don’t be afraid to assert your boundaries.
Boundaries don’t exist to shut people out of our lives but act as a way to help keep people in our lives. Expressing your needs and acknowledging your boundaries is counterintuitively a way to improve relationships, despite what you may believe.
4. Don’t wait for burnout to hit before you nurture your nervous system
Just like when Amanda experienced burnout 1.0 – when she felt well, she stopped prioritising the inner work that had served her in recovery.
Being in survival mode means your priorities lie with restoring equilibrium and balance within your body – not making significant, long-term changes.
But when you nurture your nervous system from an already centred, balanced place is the best time to integrate practices and make meaningful changes that will continue to serve you in the future.
How to reduce stress in the silly season
Coming into the end of the year with looming deadlines and increasing workloads we can start to experience elevated levels of stress. Throw in a Christmas party or two and it can be a recipe for heading into the new year with a newly fried nervous system – not great for New Year resolutions!
Quick tips for managing silly season stress
- Get clear on what your needs are coming into the festive period and be non-negotiable about your boundaries
- Consider how much alcohol you’re going to be consuming and how this may impact your mental health
- Plan time spent with friends and family that may negatively impact your well-being – have strong boundaries in place to support you through these interactions
Connect with Amanda Louisa
- Follow Amanda on Instagram at @theamandalouisa
- Download Amanda’s FREE Guide: “3 Ways to Overcome Procrastination” at https://www.amandalouisa.com.au/overcome-procrastination
- Find out more at https://www.amandalouisa.com.au/