What’s the number one occupational hazard today’s hustlers are facing?
You guessed it: Burnout.
Don’t think it can happen to you?
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 – hustlers – are only 10-15% of the workforce, but are 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 1 in 3 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’s science to support this:
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 homerun 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 more than a few months’ time, research shows that 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.
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.
When you’re overly stressed, you’re going to be less productive. There’s not enough room in your mind and body to hold all the stress and neuroses as well as all the clear-headed answers you need. Unfortunately, it’s a zero-sum game. If you want to increase your health, positively impact your livelihood, and get your hustle back on track, I highly recommend enrolling in a yoga class, or even seeking out online resources (YouTube, for starters!) or free apps.
Yoga arms you with the ability to 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. And I have to say, while I like the stretching and the physical benefits – the mindfulness piece has done wonders for my own hustle. I wouldn’t be able to have the clarity of mind to tell you what has worked for me if I hadn’t been practicing mindfulness with my yoga. They go hand in hand.
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.”
One of the best things about yoga and mindfulness practice is that you can do it in the privacy of your own home. If you have cable, you can watch Namaste Yoga on Exercise TV. For digital hustlers like me, there are plenty of YouTube channels, both corporate and independent ones. There are apps; there are websites; and there are even podcasts that you can subscribe to and download. The options are plentiful!
“Yoga is not a religion. It is a science, science of well-being, science of youthfulness, science of integrating body, mind and soul.” ― Amit Ray
Of course, yoga isn’t going to change your life over night.
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. No….
Not this time.
Instead, you’re going to make the rest of the day count.
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