When is the last time you have truly enjoyed a weekend free of work?  No thinking about it, no visit to the office, no work done at home… no work.

I would be surprised if any of you have enjoyed such a weekend in the last year.  Why?  Because as small business owners, we love to work.  Whether it’s strategizing, brainstorming, or working on our next marketing campaign, our business is a huge part of our life on a daily basis.  There’s nothing wrong with that—in fact, it is great to be passionate about what you do.
That said, the threat of burnout is very real to business owners.  Is burnout something for you to be concerned about?  Take a moment to answer these questions:

•    Are you more irritable than usual around your family or your employees?
•    Are you getting physically ill more often than you used to?
•    Do you dread going to work each day?
•    Had despondency replaced excitement when it comes to your business?
•    When you think about your business, do you feel stress?

Answering yes to any of those questions could be a sign that you are heading towards a burnout.  If you think you might be, I recommend speaking to your doctor as soon as possible.

To help you avoid burning out, keep these tips in mind:

•    Eat right.  This is a tough one for business owners.  Our time is always at a premium and we are always on the move.  But eating healthy is not optional.  Find a way to eat three healthy meals each day.  You started and run your own business—I know you can figure out a way to eat right.

•    Invest time and energy in non-work relationships.  This can mean friends, family, or neighbors—whoever it may be, spend time each week building relationships with people outside of your business.

•    Set limits.  You may have to work 60 or 70 hours each week.  I understand—I have run several businesses and have worked plenty of those weeks.  But it’s important to give yourself time to relax and recuperate each week.  Even if it is only Sunday afternoon and evening, designate a work-free time and do your best to relax and forget about your business.

•    Exercise.  Again, it can be tough to find time to exercise as much as you should.  But getting enough exercise can literally be a matter of life and death.  Whether it is working out at the gym, going for a swim, or even going for a walk with your family, find a way to get exercise on a daily basis.

Small business owners are going to work hard—that is just reality.  But be smart about it.  You have a long life to live and a company to build… don’t burn yourself out before you finish the job!