Burnout doesn’t care what season it is, whether you’re an executive for Apple or a young Mother trying to build a successful aromatherapy business. It is insidious, creeping in slowly, often beginning with frustration and evolving into feeling like you’ve hit a brick wall. You might feel depressed, discouraged, moody, weepy and exhausted. “What’s the use” becomes your mantra.
How do I know this? From first-hand experience, my friends. Being an energetic ‘Type-A’ perfectionist, I never want to stop, especially when I’m having success. I’ve had brushes with burnout that have manifested in total meltdowns.
Today I’m sharing thoughts on burnout, especially as it applies to building an aromatherapy business. I’ve offered solutions that will, hopefully, help you restore love and vision for your aromatherapy business and recapture a passion for life.
I suggest that as you read, keep a journal or notebook handy to jot down observations you have about your own burnout. You might even want to print out this blog post and mark it with highlighter and pen, making notes about any self-realizations that come to you.
I love doing this 🙂
Burnout Can Happen Even Doing What You Love
Burnout doesn’t always come from the same source and it doesn’t always manifest the same for everyone. It can look like depression, fatigue or irritability. Burnout can even happen when you’ve been working at something you’re passionate about – like aromatherapy – but not giving yourself enough downtime (guilty!). On the other end of the spectrum, burnout can come from not being challenged enough in your life. In other words, you’re in need of either a deep rest OR a kick in the pants with a better focus on your goals.
Below are five common sources of burnout and how they might be affecting your work as an Aromatherapist.
I’ve offered solutions for tackling each one. You may not see yourself in every situation, but if you’re suffering from burnout, you’ll definitely find some suggestions to rev your engine and get you motivated. Or you could just find a pre-schooler to hang out with for a week!
FIVE CAUSES OF BURNOUT with FIVE EASY SOLUTIONS
Constant pressure that never abates just isn’t normal. If you’re always under the gun (self-imposed or otherwise), always “putting out fires” at home or work, always faced with a deadline, you aren’t going to last. Maybe you just can’t unwind due to constant internal or external pressures. If this sounds like you. you could be headed for a meltdown, or worse, the loss of your creativity!
The ‘Overwork’ Solution: Pace Yourself
Even if you have a life you love with kids and work you enjoy, you have to find ways to pace yourself. You simply cannot go go go all the time. See if you can create small cushions of blank space during the day or week to let your emotions, brain, and body recover for the marathon of your life. Can you jump on your bike for 30 minutes every afternoon with no particular destination in mind? How about a yoga class during lunch once a week? Maybe just designate Sunday as a no-technology day? The more impossible this sounds, the more necessary it is! Taking time off is a key factor in the life of every successful person. I’ll bet that in just one week, you’ll find your productivity will improve when you pace yourself!
#2. Lack of Progress
Do you feel like you are working hard yet continue to remain in the same place? Do you work and work and work and never feeling like you’re moving closer to your dreams? Ugh. I know that feeling. It’s a sure-fire recipe for burnout. We humans are meant to have a purpose, a goal, a destination; to have direction and feel like we’re moving that way. To have a fulfilling life, you need to have goals and a sense that you’re making progress towards them. To fight burnout that comes from frustration at lack of movement, you must have a sense of making progress.
The ‘Lack of Progress’ Solution: Track and Celebrate Small Successes!
Depending on your exact goal, how you measure your progress will vary, but it is essential for your mental well-being for you to be able to look back at your day and say, “Yes! I accomplished this!” Tracking progress could be as simple as having a daily list of things to do and crossing them off, knowing that the day’s list rolls up into your larger goals. Or you may want a clear checklist of specific achievements like the number of products sold, students registered, dollars earned. Obviously, some goals are easier to track than others, but overall, you should know where you’re going and how close you are to achieving them.
But what if your goal is more ephemeral like working your aromatherapy business full-time? You can still break it down into actionable chunks. What do you have to do before you can quit your dead-end day job? Make enough money to replace your income. Start with how much you want to earn annually, then break it down by month. How much product will you need to sell or how many people will you need to register in your classes each month?
Whatever works for you, find a way to link your progress to your goal. When you see yourself making strides forward, no matter how small, you’ll see that the end is closer every day. And please, celebrate your progress! Whether it’s five new blends sold or 3 students in your first class, take a moment to enjoy the completion.
#3. Lack of Vision
So you feel like you’re making progress, and you regularly take breaks to let your batteries recharge, but you still feel a general lack of motivation. What gives? The answer may lie in your end goal. You may say, “Well, Liz, of course, I know why I’m working 12-hour days, I want to get my business off the ground!”
To that, I respond: “Yes, but…”
-Yes, but… why do you want to start/grow your own business?
-Yes, but… how will you know when you’ve reached your goal?
-Yes, but… what after your business is launched. What then?
Just having a goal isn’t enough. Your lack of motivation may come from having a goal that is not inspiring enough. This can be worse than having no goal at all. If you’re not waking up psyched for the day ahead, lack of vision could be the issue. Thank goodness, there’s an easy way to fix this!
The ‘Lack of Vision’ Solution: Get Clear on Your WHY
If you’re working to put food on the table, you’re not going to worry too much about motivation. You’ll get up every morning and start hustling because you have no other option. But what if you’re not in this back-against-the-wall position? You can still create a strong “why,” that motivates and inspires you, you just have to be clear on what it is. Money? That’s rarely sufficient; instead, think of what you’ll do with the money you earn. Eliminate credit card debt? Leave that dead-end job? Pay off the mortgage? Send your kids to college? Build houses for the homeless? Take your goal beyond simply a number!
Let’s use an example many of us can relate to, losing weight. If you’re trying to lose weight, you probably have a goal. Why did you pick that particular goal weight? Because 130 pounds sounds good? OR to look sexy for your spouse? To attract a new partner? To be able to shop in any store you want? To be around when your kids have their children? You need to know the WHY behind your goal in order for it to successfully motivate you.
Even if you have the end result in mind – like having your own product line, for example – the possibilities can still be overwhelming. What kind of product line? Who are my customers? How many products should I offer? Should I tailor to men, women or children? A confused mind does nothing, and nothing is more confusing and exhausting than a ton of options to evaluate, rank, and act upon.
The good news is that your frustration and lack of motivation are temporary. Typically as soon as you can identify your end goal and define some parameters for your decision, you can move forward. Here are a few quick actions you can take if you’re feeling bogged down in choices.
The ‘Don’t Know What To Do Next’ Solution: Clear the Table
Try to reduced “choice clutter” by taking as much off the table as possible when defining your ideal outcome. Let’s say you want to create your own line of aromatherapy products. Great. Now let’s get even more clear. Who are your products for? Women with Skin Issues. Great! Now decide where you’d like to sell this product. Do you want to create a world-famous line used in exotic spas? Offer a modest line to carry in your local health food store? Or, maybe you just want to create blends to use in your massage practice and sell to clients? Narrow down the choices as much as possible.
A word about Perfection. Perfection is my personal demon. Whatever goal you’re tackling, whether it’s a product launch or a YouTube video, don’t try to make it perfect. Perfection doesn’t exist, and looking for the “perfect” labels, logo or website design is going to have you wasting time. Instead, look for ““good enough.” You can always change it later.
#5. Your Goal is Stale
Sometimes our goals seem fine but they have lost their ability to motivate us. We feel bored with it. The problem may not be you: It may be your goal! If you haven’t found yourself in the previous sections but are still suffering from burnout, here’s one more possibility: Your goal is stale. Our goals need to captivate us emotionally! If your goal makes logical sense (“Have my own line of natural baby products”) but your heart isn’t in it, you could be suffering from stale-goal-itis.
Maybe you dream of creating a fabulous line of natural products for newborns, but you haven’t painted a bright enough picture to involve your emotions. Sometimes stale-goal-itis occurs when we’ve been working on a goal for so long that we take it for granted. We know we’re working towards a larger picture – launching a company to become financially independent – but it’s become words on a page rather than a living, breathing dream. It’s the living, breathing dreams that get us through the downtimes!
It’s not that your goal is wrong; it just needs to be freshened up!
The “Stale Goal” Solution: Make a Vision Board!
Having a great goal is only the first step. For it to truly motivate you through times of trouble, low energy, and even burnout, you need to make your goals COME ALIVE! Emotion-filled goals are the ones that are going to have you getting up early to design your new labels or staying up late writing an inspired blog post. While logic may tell you what to do, passion motivates you to do it.
Many of you are familiar with the concept of “visualization” and creating vision boards. These techniques are not magic but they are powerful tools that have been used for decades! Here’s a post I wrote called Manifest your Aromatherapy Goals and Dream with a Vision Board that will get you started. Add images of the kind of shop you want to own, your dream classroom the vacations you will take with your family from your earnings. Whatever stirs your soul needs to go there!
If you want to make your dreams and goals come alive, you need to add texture, emotion, and color to them. This isn’t mindless dreaming; it’s creating the blueprint for your future success. Plus it’s a lot of fun!
It’s natural to face some burnout along the way to your goals. Sometimes it comes from working too hard, sometimes it’s because you aren’t clear on where you’re going, and sometimes it’s because you’re not passionate enough about your end goal. Whatever your goal, and whatever the cause of your burnout, I hope you now have some concrete ideas to help you revitalize your spirit.
I’d love to hear from YOU now! Are you feeling burned out? Exhausted? Discouraged? Please share your story in the comment section below!