Entrepreneur Burnout: A Report Highlights the Emotional Toll of Covid. Should Founders Take More Time Off?

A survey by Xero found that many entrepreneurs are experiencing psychological difficulties in navigating through this pandemic. It is more difficult to manage the emotional impact of the pandemic than the more straightforward but still necessary task of getting their businesses back on track financially. How can they help themselves?

According to a poll conducted by the Opinium and Centre for Economic and Business Research 92 percent of small-business owners have suffered from mental health issues in the past two years. Worse, 40 percent of small business owners believe that it will take longer to deal with their mental health problems than financial recovery.

Entrepreneurs’ psychological well-being is a constant topic. Even in the best times, founders of small businesses must make difficult decisions that affect not only themselves but also their employees. Often with little or no moral support. Depression and anxiety are common side effects of this.


A Emotional Toll

The pandemic accelerated things. The backdrop of increasing death tolls, restricted movement and association, and all-pervasive anxiety meant that decisions about whether to reduce staff or close down completely were made. Entrepreneurs were operating under extreme conditions, even by any standard. It is not surprising that many entrepreneurs are still dealing with the emotional aftermath.


Pushing Too Hard

The report reveals that founders faced the greatest problem in managing the pandemic. Most didn’t take sick leave and only 21 percent of those who were suffering from mental illness took time off. This led to not only burnout in the short-term but also potential mental health issues down the road.

It’s still debatable whether or not the pandemic has ended. The reality is that businesses now face new problems, including inflation and staff shortages as well as disruptions in supply lines.

What is the best way to address problems that aren’t getting better?


Lessons from Burnout

Jessica Rose was there and purchased the t-shirt. She is the founder of the Jewellers Academy and runs an online business offering tuition in jewellery-making. She was also the founder of a Hatton Garden physical school in London before the pandemic.

It was not surprising that the future of the physical company was in doubt. “Initially, we didn’t know if it would need to close. She says it was difficult. “There were many frustrated students to deal with, and staff didn’t know if there was any security for their jobs.”

The school was closed and tuition jobs were transferred to the online academy. Rose says, “Once I made the decision, things improved.”


Lessons from the Past

It could have been overwhelming. Rose had suffered from burnout in the past when she was trying to grow a business.

She says, “I was ill for a year and couldn’t eat properly, exercise properly, or sleep properly.”

She recalls that the pressures were intense. Hatton Gardens was a high-rent area. The physical school was there. “There was always pressure to get enough bookings.”

Rose described this as a “passion business” for her and for the employees. There was always the temptation to work too much.


How To Stop

Rose, like many small business owners, was burned out. How do you get over this?

Rose was right. It is important to let yourself stop. You can take a break from work. Take a break from answering the phone constantly Limit email. She says, “You must do everything you can to stop.” Keep in mind that the world will not end if you don’t answer your emails.

Rose also made sure she was getting enough exercise, eating healthy foods, and engaging in meditation.

Many business owners will find it difficult to take time off. This is because taking time off can be against the grain. This is especially true for small businesses. Rose’s experience shows that it is worth taking a step back. Alternatives include letting burnout symptoms persist, which could lead to more serious mental health issues.


A Different View

Rose believes that the experience of burnout gave her a perspective which helped her deal with the potentially even more difficult problems presented by the pandemic.

It was also important to realize that even intense work can end. You can then take a break. Rose believes that the desire to grow a business doesn’t need to be overwhelming. Rose believes that there should be some time for family and friends. She encourages employees not to burnout and encourages them to take time off.

This doesn’t make difficult decisions any easier. You can, however, look at the bigger picture and take a step back. During the pandemic, for example, school staff were offered positions in the virtual company. Rose said she tried to take care of her team in that regard. Rose says it’s important to recognize that you cannot be responsible for the lives of others.

One result of the pandemic has been that companies are now more conscious of employee wellbeing and invest in it. According to the Xero survey, this is a win-win situation as it correlates with better performance. While investments in well-being might not directly impact the bottom line, they can yield dividends that will help you get there.

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