One of my CEO clients asked me the other day, “Is 2020 over yet? It seems like it has been the longest year, ever…”

Let’s face it, 2020 brought significant challenges for the business leader. Now in early 2021 there is hope for positive change, but we understand it will take time. Shutdowns, economic instability, and business planning in these fluid times are difficult. But one of the main challenges may not be what you think… Burnout.

Burnout is on the rise and more dangerous than ever before. This is a huge problem for today’s business owners and leaders. As it is so prevalent in companies, it became a main discussion topic of one of our Leadership Mastermind sessions.

The Definition of Burnout – Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress.

If you’ve been feeling overwhelmed, depleted, and down more than usual, you are not alone. In fact, experts say you are probably just one of thousands struggling with ‘2020 burnout’.

Depression and anxiety are also increasing at alarming levels as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. A survey released by Mental Health America (MHA) reported levels at 300% higher than the previous year. Here are some reason why 2020 is unique:

  • Boundaries between work and home are blurred more than ever before.
  • Business Executives are working longer hours trying to fill the knowledge gap in their companies.
  • Technology is becoming foe versus friend with the inability to shut it off.

If you can relate to these you may be on the path to burnout. According to the World Health Organization, there are three main signs: feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion, increased mental distance from one’s job, and reduced professional productivity.

The good news is you can stop the racing train to burnout and take charge before you crash. Here are 3 steps to cope with this dangerous health issue:

The first step seems simple but may be the hardest one.

  1. Look in the mirror. Preventing burnout in your organization starts with you as the leader. If you are not on top of your game, you can’t possibly be the strong and effective leader your team needs.
  2. Get support. Rather than isolating (a natural tendency when facing burnout), spend regular time with a mentor, counselor, or a peer group of trusted advisors. Close advisors will be able to help you recognize where you are struggling and also provide encouragement and support.
  3. Take preventative steps. Here are a number of things you can do today to help yourself and your team:
    • Delegate. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
    • Talk about it with your team. Check in regularly. Take time to catch up. It doesn’t have to be work related, just build rapport.
    • Rejuvenate and reenergize. Find what works for you – meditate, journal, exercise, read.
    • Control your calendar. If you want to dig deeper check out my 21-Days Success Goals Course to learn how to own your schedule.
    • Prioritize self-care. This includes a higher focus on sleep, nutritious food, and exercise.

Challenging times can take their toll. However, the best business leaders know intentional care of themselves and their team members is critical to sustain long term success.

Examine the problem of burnout in your own life and in your organization. Then use these tools to keep you and your company strong, healthy, and moving forward.

Additional Resource:

Subscribe to the Intentional Leadership Podcast on Apple Podcast or Spotify and listen to episode 22 for more information on How to Cope with 2020 Burnout.