How I Overcame Boss-Lady Burnout

It was December, 2019. I was by myself on Christmas, and my car had gotten broke into the night before (Christmas Eve), my wallet stolen, blah blah blah… A series of bad decisions had led me to moving 12 hours from my family so I had no one to go to to spend the holidays with. It was the worst Christmas I ever had.

Little did I know, this was the milestone that led me into a serious burnout crisis. And my clients could TELL!

I worked my butt off for 5 months post-holiday-depression. I needed to make enough money to move home to the Black Hills, and be able to live in a decent place in a good part of Rapid City at that. Rent isn’t cheap here, despite what you may think! (Ok, ok, it’s super cheap compared to the rest of the country…but still!)

Signal the 12-16 hour days and no (I mean NO) personal life. By time the end of April came around, I was in a bad way. I had let my hair grow too long, get too ratty, and my weight had taken the toll of my emotional stresses. My mental health was also plummeting. I knew, though, that I would be moving back at the end of May. And that lifted my spirits. But the burnout from working so much had left it’s mark.

I knew I needed to get OUT of the slump I had let myself get into and come up with some ways to create a personal life for myself outside of work. I also knew that I needed to work on my physical and emotional health.

Emotional health is a topic I am seriously passionate about. I have learned so many great tools these past couple months that have seemingly brought me back to life.

Here’s some of my favorite ways to separate my work from MYSELF - and to create a better work/life balance.

1. Investing in my family

I don’t mean burying them in gifts. I mean investing both my time and money in going to be and see them. Family is the most important thing to me, so any expenses related to seeing them and being with them are totes worth it.

2. Meditation & sleep stories

I tend to fall along a more spiritual or religious sect of humans, so I like listening to Abide. But I also enjoy the Calm sleep stories! They’re the BOMB DOT COM. I recommend Matthew McConaughey’s reading on Calm, and Psalms on Abide.

I also take a 15 minute meditation before bed each night or when I’m completely freaking out about something. Calm has some good meditations for this as well!

3. Exercise

I really lacked on this this past winter. I didn’t move a muscle. Now, I’ve been working out - and my body is reaping the rewards! I can FEEL lighter and therefore feel myself being more energetic. I recommend using the elliptical for 30 minutes a day, taking a walk, or even just going to your favorite store and walking down all of the aisles (it’s fun in more ways than one).

4. Go to the doctor

Again, this was one area I wasn’t paying enough attention to. Most doctors just hand you a pill these days it seems, but that’s not always the solution for some people - myself being one of them. I needed a doctor to tell me what exactly was going on in my body and listen to what works! Going to a doctor you feel comfortable talking to will get you on the right track and make you feel better about yourself. Trust me.

5. Get a haircut

It’s as easy as that. Step your game up. Do something new!

6. Tell someone no.

Again, it’s a simple one. Telling someone no to something you really don’t want to do, or to someone who has been treating you poorly can put you either on a path to redemption with that person, or it can free you from doing things that make you feel just downright awful. Saying no is my new favorite thing, whereas before - I was a huge YES person. That’s a major contributor to burnout.

7. Give yourself time off.

Being your own boss is freeing. Trust me, I just got off the plane at 2 AM a couple days ago and woke up at 7 AM for work the next day. I work IN MY OWN HOUSE. Needless to say, you can give yourself permission to take the afternoon off if you absolutely need to. I went to bed at 3 PM and didn’t wake up until the next morning! Stick to your set hours, but don’t be afraid to shut the computer off and take care of yourself.

8. Separate work space

When I moved back to South Dakota, I knew I needed a room that I could close the door to at the end of the day and leave my work in. So I got a two bedroom. It’s absolutely worth the money - and I don’t have to come in here unless I have some legit work to do!

Sticking to your own mental health rules while working from your own home can be hard. It’s so easy, especially if you have workaholic tendencies like yours truly, to break them. I made my whole family wait a few minutes for me to fix a problem for a client while I was on vacation. It breaks my heart. Don’t let yourself become so focused on making others happy that you sacrifice your own happiness.

You are your greatest asset! Treat yourself as such!