What if you told someone at a large company that they from now on would be in charge of administration, accounting, marketing, sales, purchasing and human resources. AND to be in charge of setting up a new website and managing the social media accounts – while putting in long hours on the floor as well. Would they buy it? Probably not.

However, this is the case for many hard-working entrepreneurs out there. And especially for restaurant and cafe owners, matters are likely even more pressing.

Burnout − it’s not just work

Burnout, or depression from exhaustion, is a relatively new term in our contemporary vocabulary. The phenomenon is not new, but some of the stress factors might be. It is important to understand that for a long time, burnout was exclusively linked to stress at work. That’s no longer the case.

Workload itself isn’t usually what pushes people over the brim – there’s usually a combination of factors. While a more holistic approach is slowly reaching the Western world, most stress research still revolves around work-related stress.

However, for entrepreneurs, the stress from work can closely be entwined with the stress at home, especially if you’re building a business while building a family at the same time.

“But we probably worked harder back in the days?”

True, many people worked long hours in physically demanding jobs without complaining, but the work was usually far more straight-forward. In our time, fear of failure, inability to delegate, unrealistic targets and deadlines, financial problems, poor management and lack of support are a few of the things we get really stressed about.

Is stress always a bad thing?

No, stress in itself isn’t bad. Low amounts of stress can sharpen your senses and strengthen your abilities, and high stress levels can be maintained as long as you allow yourself proper rejuvenation. But high stress levels over long periods of time without rejuvenation is a potentially life-threatening condition. It’s very difficult to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy stress. “Listen to your body” is the common mantra, and it’s true.

What can we do to reduce stress?

If you think there’s too much negative stress in your life, your highest priority should be to try to reduce this. Some of the key elements in feeling better are purely physical. Make sure you get enough sleep, eat at regular times, drink lots of water and exercise. If you’re in deep waters, you’re probably already laughing at this. You don’t have the time, right? Yes you do.

Here are a few easy tips for reducing stress and maintaining a healthy work/life balance:

  • Even if it’s “just you”, remember that you don’t have to do everything yourself. Never be afraid to ask for help.
  • E-mails can wait. If someone really wants your quick opinion they’ll text or call you, right?
  • Make to-do-lists and cross off items when they’re done. Only put down attainable goals within a very short time-frame. “Learn a new language” or “renovate the kitchen” don’t belong there.
  • When the work day is over, make sure to take your mind off work. Turn off your phone and spend time with your family, read books or watch movies, play rock music – just do something else.
  • Schedule time for yourself – and see this meeting just as important as others.

After all, remember that both your business and your family need you healthy and alive.