What does Burnout look like as a class provider, and what can you do about it?
It’s Mental Health Week, and with a theme of ‘Anxiety’, we wanted to touch on a term that is often related to it, especially in a work environment. According to a poll run by Mental Health UK in 2021, 46% of UK workers feel ‘more prone to extreme levels of stress’ compared to the year prior (2020), while only 15% feel ‘less prone to extreme levels of stress’.
When you are running your own business, it’s easy to get lost in it and to throw everything you have into your work. But, if you start to feel overwhelmed or exhausted from it, you can be left feeling trapped and anxious about it all. And to add fuel to the fire, Burnout is something that, unfortunately, will only get worse unless you do something about it.
Here’s some ways you can identify Burnout, and what you can do about it.
What is “Burnout”, and what does it look like as a class provider?
Burnout is a specific type of work-related stress and is a state of physical and emotional exhaustion that can occur when you experience long-term stress in your job. A class provider may start to feel Burnout because they have been overworked and haven’t taken a break for themselves. Or they have been putting in lots of effort and have stopped feeling the effect of the awards. The line between personal life and work life may have started to blur, leading to some questioning in identity.
Burnout isn’t a medical diagnosis, but a specific form of work-related stress that many believe may contribute or be a part of other mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. As someone who runs their own business, you may feel that your business is a part of you, or that it is you. There is a lot of hard work and heart that you put into your business, but it does also unfortunately leave you with the possibility of feeling burnt out if you don’t check in with yourself once in a while.
Some of the warning signs of Burnout as a class provider:
1. You feel exhausted and overwhelmed most of the time
There might be an underlying feeling of anxiety or stress that you can’t quite shake off. You might be feeling rushed off your feet constantly, and then exhausted whenever you’re not. This feeling is usually from a place of care: you want your sessions to go well, and you want your business to be successful. But in the process, you are possibly forgetting your basic needs, and to allow yourself a break when you need it.
2. You have become more cynical and pessimistic
Despite your successes, you are quick to identify the negative and what went wrong, and completely ignore all the things that went well. You might start to think the worst about how things have gone, or how things are going.
3. You are less motivated to run your sessions, but you also feel trapped in your routine
There might start to be a small sense of dread when you are approaching your sessions, or perhaps you just don’t feel in the mood to run an activity. You may be acutely aware that you need a break, or that something in your work routine needs to change, but with no idea on how to change it, you might be left feeling trapped.
4. You rarely reap your rewards: achieving goals but feeling unsatisfied with them
Despite the energy and time you are putting into your business, you rarely allow yourself any time to enjoy the rewards that come from it. Regardless of success, you rarely feel happy with the progress you have made.
5. You’re still thinking about work when you’re trying to sleep
No matter how tired you are feeling, you are still laying awake thinking abo
ut your work. Whether it’s the day ahead, the bigger picture, or reflecting on something that happened during the week: it’s keeping you up, and it’s near impossible to get the rest that you need.
6. You feel like you need to do everything yourself, otherwise it won’t be done
Despite others offering to help in any way you can, you don’t want the help. There might be a mindset of ‘to do it right, you have to do it yourself’. Or, perhaps your mindset is because it is your business, you want to be the one who does it. Either way, the idea of letting someone else do some of the work feels wrong, no matter how much there is a struggle to keep up with the workload.
7. Burnout as a class provider: You feel less connected with others, and think that you are struggling alone.
Feeling like you have all this work to do, and that you have to do it all yourself, can be time-consuming. Actually, it can be all-consuming. Taking on a whole business on your own could leave you feeling isolated, not having as much time to connect with your family and friends, or at least as much as you would like.
What you can do about Burnout as a class provider?
It might feel like you’re suffering alone in this. Finding a way to change things might sound difficult or impossible right now. But it is not a hopeless situation. There is plenty you can do to deal with burnout as a class provider. There is some great advice from Mind on how to deal with burnout in general. But here’s some advice on what could help you as a class provider specifically:
Take a break.
Look at your term timetable, are there any weeks where you can either take time off or reduce the amount of classes you’re running?
Try to finish on time.
If you are finding yourself running late, or you’re starting to forget when work time starts and ends, start setting your hours more prominently. If you need to spend time outside of your classes to do admin or to clean props, allocate in your calendar a slot where you are doing this, and avoid going outside of this time
Find childcare for time when you’re not working, and make room for “you” time.
The reason you might have started running your own classes was so that you could fit your work around your time, including family time and looking after your children. However, the risk of this is that you may go straight from work mode to parent mode without a break. If you can, try to find childcare for an hour or so in the day where you are not working, and allow yourself some “you” time.
Schedule nice things into your timetable.
If your calendar is looking colourful and blocked up, that’s not always a bad thing. However, if it’s all appointments, classes, work or chores, it can leave you feeling incredibly overwhelmed and disheartened. If you are a quality list-writer, or an avid calendar user, schedule in some ‘nice’ things. Whether that’s going for a walk, reading a book, watching TV, meeting up with a friend, or anything you find relaxing and fun.
Set your tech to “do not disturb” mode a few hours before you want to go to sleep, or outside of work hours.
This might not stop you thinking about work, but will help you to find a divide between work and rest. You can adjust the settings in this mode so that you can choose what notifications will and won’t alert your phone. (You can even make it that only specific contacts will be able to contact you).
Hire someone to help with the workload:
If your business is thriving and the workload is increasing (or, you’re considering on running more sessions) then it might be time to hire an extra pair of hands to help! It can be difficult to relinquish control of your business. After all, your business is your baby!
But this could be the best next step for both you and your business, allowing the company to expand without putting additional pressure on your own shoulders.
Reach out for help if you need it
If what you are feeling seems more severe than burnout, and if you start displaying symptoms of anxiety or depression, it might be time for you to reach out for help. We recommend you talk to a family member or friend that you trust, or talk to your GP about how you are feeling. We also have a useful Mental Wellness support page with contact details of charities and organisations that can help you.
Happity: Created with baby class providers in mind!
If you are looking for ease and a listing/booking service that’s catered specifically to you (busy parents and small business owners) then you are on the right blog page.
It’s free to list with Happity, and you can offer all sorts of ticket options through our site. Though we also offer cost-effective membership for when your baby class needs an extra boost in its marketing or if you would like access to our provider-catered booking system.