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5 tips to help business leaders avoid burnout

5 tips to help business leaders avoid burnout

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Try to set boundaries to protect your evenings or weekends where possible, especially if you know you have a particularly stressful period coming up.

It's common for a business leader to wear many hats, especially in the case of being a small business owner. A new study by Simply Business revealed that as many as one in three small business owners in the UK have previously experienced burnout, and more than half (56%) reported poor mental health over the last 12 months.

*While the context was set in the UK and focused on small business owners, HRO believes the content remains relevant to our readers in Asia.

While juggling different responsibilities, how can a business leader avoid being burnt out? First, we need to recognise it.

Signs of burnout:

Burnout varies among individuals but may include physical exhaustion, helplessness, anger outbursts, or social withdrawal.

In the workplace, it can manifest as missed deadlines, procrastination, or disinterest in work.

Pay attention to these signs to differentiate between temporary stress and more serious burnout.

Delving further into this topic, Capital on Tap has worked with mental health experts, Georgina Sturmer, Counsellor, MBACP, and Simon Davies, Registered Counsellor at Living Well UK, to share five tips to help business leaders to manage stress levels and beat burnout.

1. Plan ahead
Planning and preparation are crucial to tackle any unnecessary pressure. Whether you prefer to write a weekly to-do list, or plan on a quarterly or yearly basis, addressing concerns early on will give you the capacity to better manage high-stress situations.

2. Set realistic expectations
Create a comprehensive "to-do" list but prioritise daily tasks. Account for regular working hours, lunch breaks, and potential interruptions when planning your day. This approach helps you manage your workload more effectively and reduce stress.

3. Delegate responsibilities
Delegate tasks to trusted individuals, and use your team’s strengths to address any potential challenges. This can alleviate your workload and improve your mental health. Don't hesitate to seek help from others.

4. Take care of yourself
Prioritise self-care, physical activity and a healthy lifestyle outside of the workplace as a way to address rising work-related tensions. Make sure you're getting enough sleep, eating nutritional foods, and exercising regularly. Incorporating relaxation techniques like yoga, meditation, or deep breathing into your daily routine can also reduce stress.

5. Protect your free time
Try to set boundaries to protect your evenings or weekends where possible, especially if you know you have a particularly stressful period coming up. This might involve fun activities, getting out in the fresh air, seeing loved ones, or even just remembering to step away from your devices. You will perform better at work if you have allowed yourself time to recharge.

What to do if burnout has already set in?

Communicate and open up
If we bottle stress up inside it eats away at us, or comes out in fierce outbursts. If you share how you are feeling, then it’s easier for others to support you through stressful times. Talking to a colleague, trusted friend or family member can help you to process your feelings, and develop strategies to address the cause of your stress.

Seek professional support
If you're feeling overwhelmed, consider seeking help from a qualified mental health professional. This can give you the space to talk to an impartial person who can give actionable advice. Talking to someone outside your close circle can also help you better understand your feelings and sources of stress.


Be a part of Singapore's annual wellness gathering of C-suite leaders, HR heads, and wellness champions. Sign up to attend Corporate Wellbeing Asia 2023!

Lead image / Shutterstock

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