What's the number one occupational hazard today's hustlers are facing? You guessed it: burnout. The burnout trap can rear its ugly head at any time, and no one is immune.
The facts don't lie: High performers within companies (aka hustlers) make up only 10 to 15 percent of the workforce. But, they're responsible for one-third of total work.
And self-employed hustlers know this for sure: Stress levels are on the rise, as is the amount of work, the never ending e-mails and the likelihood of reaching burnout.
In this blog post, I'm going to share with you what the struggle feels like and a simple habit that entrepreneurs can use to decrease the chances of running into a wall. But first things first, we all need to come to grips with a simple reality:
The Burnout Struggle Is Real
We can follow hundreds of motivational accounts on Instagram. We can watch every Gary Vaynerchuk video on Facebook. But if you're an entrepreneur, you need to keep your mind right to keep your grind right [Tweet This].
Recent research from Dr. Michael Freeman found that one in three entrepreneurs lives with depression. Thankfully, more and more entrepreneurs have started talking about their internal and ongoing struggles in an attempt to combat the stigma.
As an entrepreneur, I know firsthand that there are some amazing highs and some ridiculous lows that come with the territory.
I've definitely looked burnout straight in the eye and have found myself time and time again having to get my head where it needs to be. When you hustle for a living, you don't always have co-workers sitting next to you to commiserate with and you don't always have the ability to share the struggle.
Of course, when you're in the flow, that can be great – but when you're fighting burnout, it can be demotivating.
So, how can you avoid it?
Well, I'm no scientist but the approach that I've found to work well can summed up with one simple phrase: namaslay.
It's a my take on the ancient Sanskrit greeting namaste which means, "The Spirit within me salutes the Spirit in you." Namaslay is the feeling I have after attending yoga class and am ready to slay my to-do list and get my hustle back on track.
I've only been practicing yoga for about a year but it's a habit that I'm glad I've taken on. And I'm not alone. Russell Simmons (no relation), Arianna Huffington, Hillary Clinton, Richard Branson and many more successful entrepreneurs use yoga to stay on track both physically and mentally.
And there are scientific studies that support why you should consider it:
Study 1: Yoga is more effective than relaxing
When your mind is crowded and you need some mental and physical breathing room, yoga is a surefire way to shake burnout and reset your mind to better serve your hustle. When you've got to hit a home run and you can't mentally get to first base, yoga can be a great practice to bust through your block and get yourself back to bat.
You don't have to take my word for it.
Scientific research agrees, too.
When you practice yoga consistently over a few months, research shows it's more effective than, say, taking a nap or even a day off work. A study from the University of South Australia recently published in Comparative Therapies in Medicine tested over 130 subjects, having some spend an hour per week on mere relaxation, and others doing hatha yoga during that time.
The study found that, “following the 10 week intervention, stress, anxiety, and quality of life scores improved over time. Yoga was found to be as effective as relaxation in reducing stress, anxiety and improving health status [. . .]. Yoga was more effective than relaxation in improving mental health.”
The key, however, seems to be keeping it up.
Yoga isn't a magic pill, it's a practice that requires dedication and effort to maintain. What you put in, however, you get out tenfold. A little bit of yoga can turn a zero morning into a Namaslay afternoon. Yoga opens up your energy flow for good things to come in and help you on your journey.
Study 2: Yoga can improve and enhance your perspective
In a 2011 study published in a Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health, almost 50 British employees were tested over the course of six weeks, with some being enlisted in a weekly yoga class, and others were told they had been waitlisted.
The study found that, "the employees enrolled in yoga saw an increase improvement on both their positive attitude scores and mood state. In comparison to the waitlist group, the yogis were found to have improvements in clear-mindedness, composure, self-confidence and increased life purpose."
If you're looking for a way to get your groove back it's obvious that yoga is a great way to do it. Even in my own yoga practice, I have found that after a session, I'm more focused, ready to tackle my inbox, and have sustainable energy. Not to mention, I sleep like a baby – and sleep is where I do some of my best thinking.
Study 3: Yoga can get back on track
One other scientific study, from 2012 and published by the American Psychological Association, highlighted the positive impacts of the mindfulness component of yoga.
The study shows that, in a study of highly stressed employees enrolled in a yoga class, a mindfulness class, or a control group, “the two delivery venues [. . . ] produced basically equivalent results. Both the mindfulness-based and therapeutic yoga programs may provide viable and effective interventions to target high stress levels, sleep quality, and autonomic balance in employees." The folks that did yoga reported a lower level of “perceived stress, sleep quality, and heart rhythm.”
If you can't make it to a studio, don't worry; there are plenty of apps and videos that allow you to practice at home.
Of course, yoga isn't going to change your life overnight.
The work required to stay on track and create a thriving business goes beyond your yoga mat and beyond this blog post. It's going to require you taking a look in the mirror and making a decision that you're going to chase something.
It's going to require you to step up and take action.
It's going to require you to do something that you may not have done for quite some time. You're not just going to close this blog post, go about your day and do things as you usually do them.
Instead, you're going to make the rest of the day count.