How to Recognize and Manage Burnout Symptoms as a Startup Entrepreneur

How to Recognize and Manage Burnout Symptoms as a Startup Entrepreneur

Startup entrepreneurs live independently, set their own hours, and work to achieve their own goals. But that freedom also comes with a lot of responsibility. Experiencing burnout as an entrepreneur has become quite common, and if you’re not careful, it can affect the way you do business — and how you live your life.

What are the biggest signs of burnout to look out for? And how can you manage your burnout symptoms before it’s too late?

The Importance of Being Proactive

First, we need to recognize the importance of being proactive. Often, entrepreneurs explode warning signs of burnout and continue to advance to longer hours and harder work. They believe that leisure or relaxation will only make things worse, causing work to pile up unnecessarily.

But in reality, proactive management techniques are not expensive or intensive, but they can prevent you from experiencing the worst effects of burnout, especially in the long run. Attend online therapy sessionsreducing your hours, and delegating more tasks may be all it takes to take you from the precipice of burnout to a healthier, more sustainable place.

We’ll explore these and other proactive burnout management strategies for entrepreneurs later in this article.

Early Signs of Burnout

Stress is part of almost every job, but there is a point where that stress starts to take over your life. If you notice any of the following signs, you may consider yourself in the early stages of burnout:

Demotivation at Work

There are always days when you don’t feel like working. But if you constantly find yourself demotivated, it’s a sign that something is wrong. This is especially true as an entrepreneur, because you built this business yourself and are really passionate about the project. If you wake up each day dreading the trip to the office, it’s time to take action.


How do you behave around other people? And how do your feelings manifest as actions? We all feel irritated or irritated from time to time on any given day, but when you venture into burnout territory, you become more irritable and less tolerant of irritations. Have you found yourself snapping at co-workers lately?

Chronic Feelings of Anxiety

Anxiety is normal, but chronic feelings of anxiety or inexplicable feelings of anxiety are not. If you find your heart racing and your thoughts racing at odd times throughout the day, or for inexplicable reasons, it may be directly related to how you work.

Difficulty concentrating

Do you find it difficult to concentrate on your work? Normal, everyday distractions can complicate your ability to concentrate. But when you start having trouble concentrating consistently, especially for tasks where concentration is usually easy, consider it a warning sign.

Decreasing Satisfaction From Work

How do you feel at the end of the day? When you come home from work, do you enjoy a good job? Or are you just busy with whatever comes next? If you feel less than satisfied from work every day, you may be on the verge of burnout.

Sleep Changes

To maximize the health benefits, you should sleep between seven and nine hours each night. As an entrepreneur with a busy schedule, this is probably difficult for you even under normal circumstances. But pay attention to any changes in your sleep patterns, such as interruptions throughout the night or shorter sessions.

Other Lifestyle Changes

Have you noticed any other lifestyle changes? For example, have you been eating more junk food lately, or have you started leaning on substances like alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs? Pay attention to how severe these lifestyle changes are, when they start, and how your work life might influence them.

Danger Signs of Burnout

If you don’t take action after noticing the early signs of burnout, you may eventually notice your stress manifest as follows:

Relationship Issues

Your personal relationships are likely a higher priority for you than business success. When your work life starts to affect your relationships in a negative way, you need to take some time to reevaluate your priorities and how you spend your time. If you’re having more fights with loved ones, or if you’re estranged from your friends, you may be entering deeper stages of burnout — and if things get worse, you’ll have less support will help you.

Critical Performance Issues

how are you at work In the early stages of burnout, you may have trouble concentrating or you may be more irritable than usual, but in the later stages of burnout, you may barely be able to achieve productivity at work. When you work long hours and don’t get much done, what’s the point?

Headaches, Digestive Issues, and Other Health Problems

Stress is not just a mental problem; it can also be a physical problem. When your stress, anxiety, and tendency to overwork begin to influence your physical health, it’s time to treat it as an emergency. Headaches, stomach aches, indigestion, and other health problems are common side effects of severe burnout.

Substance Abuse Disorders

Having an extra drink every now and then isn’t a big problem, but when burnout takes over your life, you may have a real substance abuse disorder.

Burnout Management Strategies

Fortunately, even if your stress levels are very high, there are many strategies that can help you manage that stress effectively.

Talk to a therapist.

One of the best things you can do is talk to a therapist. Thanks to modern technology, it’s quick and easy to find a therapist online, and since you can meet digitally, you can schedule appointments whenever and wherever is convenient for you. Talking about your issues is a form of catharsis, and your therapist can recommend effective strategies for better managing your stress and anxiety. They can also give you a sanity test to help you identify whether your stress levels are reasonable or unreasonable.

Reduce your hours.

To avoid burnout as an entrepreneur, try reducing your hours. It is true that–as an entrepreneur– you love your work and your income depends on your success. But that doesn’t mean working longer hours is always necessary. Focus only on your most important tasks and consider delegating others. Hire additional staff members or freelancers, as needed.

Exercise more.

No matter how busy you are, it’s a good idea to find time for physical exercise. Exercise is one of the best ways to relieve stress, and it helps you stay healthy in a number of ways. Even if you can only find 20 minutes a day to be active, a daily exercise routine can make your stress more manageable. While you’re at it, consider cleaning up your diet and eating a healthy balance of a variety of healthy foods rather than any junk that happens to be convenient.

Take a vacation.

Better yet, take an entire vacation. This is especially important if you start to notice any signs of burnout in the danger zone. Taking a few days, or even a few weeks, from work can give you a new perspective on life and put your work in a healthier context. Do not worry; the rest of your team can handle things while you’re gone.

Practice thinking.

Mindfulness meditation is another great tool for managing stress and anxiety. It helps you stay in the present moment, reducing negative thoughts about the past or the future and the process.

Entrepreneurial stress is inevitable, but it is manageable. And while burnout may seem inevitable in a job as important and demanding as yours, it really isn’t. As long as you’re willing to proactively recognize the signs of burnout and combat them as an entrepreneur, you can make your position healthier and more sustainable.

Featured Image Credit: by Ketut Subiyanto; Pexels; Thank you!

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. He previously worked as Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.