Waiter and waitress working behind cafe counter
A new study shows that entrepreneurs are at less risk of burnout than salaried employees; however, business owners must be vigilant of the signs. — Getty Images/recep-bg

Burnout has become a growing problem among modern workers, but does it impact entrepreneurs differently than regular employees? According to a new Journal of Business Venturing study, business owners are actually at a lower risk of burnout than salaried employees. However, entrepreneur burnout is still a threat to success.

In the first study of its kind, researchers from the University of Amsterdam (UvA) analyzed the link between entrepreneurship, workaholism, and burnout. The first significant finding showed a paradox of positive workaholism. While entrepreneurs work harder and longer than their salaried counterparts, they showed statistically less need for recovery time after work.

The UvA study specifically showed that entrepreneurs have a high degree of personal work autonomy, which contributes to a positive psychological return on the substantial investment that they make. Furthermore, on average, entrepreneurs seem happier and more satisfied with their work.

[Read More: 5 Founders' Best Advice on How to Avoid Entrepreneur Burnout]

How to identify burnout

Entrepreneurial burnout can be hard to recognize in yourself, especially when you’re juggling the many plates that come along with entrepreneurship. Some warning signs of entrepreneurial burnout include:

  • You dread going to work. If it’s hard to get up in the morning and force yourself to get started, you may be developing burnout.
  • Others notice your mood or personality has changed. Burnout is hard to see in yourself, but those closest to you may notice a shift in your mood. Talk openly with your trusted friends and family — have they observed a personality change in you?
  • You’re experiencing physical symptoms. Burnout isn’t limited to emotional and mental symptoms — it has physiological effects, too. Symptoms can include stomachaches, headaches, trouble falling asleep, and a weakened immune system, making you more susceptible to colds and viruses.
  • You’re always tired. Being an entrepreneur is hard work, and exhaustion is sometimes part of the price you pay. However, if you don’t feel refreshed after sleep or a break, you may be experiencing burnout.

[Read More: 4 Things That Cause Entrepreneurial Burnout — And How to Avoid Them]

You can recover from burnout while following some mindfulness and self-care techniques.

Recovering from burnout

Many business owners believe that if they’re suffering from burnout, they have to take an extended break from work to feel refreshed. Fortunately, you can recover from burnout while following some mindfulness and self-care techniques.

The first way to recover from burnout is to find “you” time, whether it’s during the workday, before you start, or after you’re done for the day. Carve out as little as five or 10 minutes to journal, read, take a hot shower, listen to your favorite music, or indulge in your favorite (nonrevenue-driving) hobbies.

Rest is also a great recovery method. If you work from home, take a power nap, take a night off, or schedule a vacation to get your mind off of work.

Also, consider saying no when you’ve reached your capacity. Drawing firm boundaries will help you not overextend yourself, and it will help you manage your time more efficiently.

Avoiding burnout long term

Long-term burnout can be detrimental to your health and well-being. Here are some helpful tips for preventing burnout:

Stay connected with family and friends

Not only will friends and family tip you off to mood changes when you’re burning out, they’re a great way to get out of the work headspace and spend recreational time with someone other than yourself. In fact, research conducted by Pew Research Center shows that 83% of U.S. adults believe that spending time with family is a top source of meaning and fulfillment in their lives.

Improve your time-management skills

Avoiding burnout stems from understanding your priorities in work and life and using your time wisely. By managing your time more deliberately, you can prevent yourself from taking on too much, working to exhaustion, or draining your battery.

Sleep well

Because sleep is also a solution to recovering from burnout, getting enough rest consistently will help stave off entrepreneurial burnout long term. According to past research, less than six hours of sleep can have a bigger impact on mental burnout and degrade your ability to regulate emotion — which makes you more susceptible to stress.

[Read more: Why Good Sleep Matters for Entrepreneurs]

Spend time outdoors

In the same Pew Research Center study about spending time with family, 71% of respondents said that “being outdoors and experiencing nature gives them a great deal or quite a bit of meaning and fulfillment.” If you enjoy outdoor activities, nature can provide another option for hobbies that allow you a break from work.

Join an entrepreneurial group

Joining a group of entrepreneurs — whether the commonality between group members is your industry, age, location, or something else — can provide meaningful networking and connections outside of your routine work. These relationships hinge on the shared hardship of being an entrepreneur and can make you feel more supported in your endeavors.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

Applications are open for the CO—100! Now is your chance to join an exclusive group of outstanding small businesses. Share your story with us — apply today.

CO—is committed to helping you start, run and grow your small business. Learn more about the benefits of small business membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, here.

Brought to you by
Dedicated to turning our advantage into yours.
Unmatched 5G network : Get work done where your business happens with the speed, bandwidth, and reliability your business needs.
Learn More

Get recognized. Get rewarded. Get $25K.

Is your small business one of the best in America? Apply for our premier awards program for small businesses, the CO—100, today to get recognized and rewarded. One hundred businesses will be honored and one business will be awarded $25,000.