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How to Avoid Burnout as a Nurse Entrepreneur - 3 Things You May be Overlooking

Thursday, November 08, 2018 1:27 PM | Karrie Brazaski

Starting and running your own business can be very exciting, scary, exhausting, and rewarding, just to name a few emotions.

Some days you may feel you’re on a roller coaster; you’re not really sure if the ride is enjoyable, but you know you want to go again!

You probably left clinical nursing or nursing leadership roles because you simply got burned out. You just couldn’t do it anymore. You realized the joy, excitement, and passion was missing. But if you’re not careful, the same things that sucked the joy away can happen again in your business. You’re still at risk of burning out unless you design your business to augment your life, not BE your life!

I listen to fellow nurse entrepreneurs and hear them stressing over of some technical portion of their business. They complain that it’s taking everything they have to build the business. There’s no doubt it takes dedicated time and effort, but you’re still the human element running the business. Remembering why you left clinical nursing and realizing...


can put a smile on your face while keeping you moving forward. But you’re not invincible. You can’t run on empty any more than a car can run without gas in its tank.

So ask yourself. Are you designing your business around your life and that which you hold most sacred? If you’ve never thought about this, you need to answer that question. The world needs your gifts. You don’t want to end up burning out in this adventure before all those gifts are shared.  

Self-Care Without Guilt

One of the best ways to ensure you don’t burn out is actually taking care of yourself. Remember, you are a nurse. You know how to take care of others - now is the time to take care of YOU! It doesn’t have to be elaborate days at the spa, a long vacation or an expensive outing. Those are nice and I strongly encourage them whenever you can. Too many times people think self-care is this grandiose idea when it is simply making time for yourself and doing it without guilt.  Don’t make it so hard! Self-care can be easy, small steps you take each day. Here are five simple ideas: 

1.    Read a book for fun.Sit down and read a book for enjoyment that has nothing to do with your business. Detach your mind and give it a break.

2.    Be in nature.Sit or go walk outside in nature. I always love the feel of the sun on my face or the breeze in my hair. It is amazing what a few minutes outside can do to energize you.

3.    Take back lunch! Sit down and enjoy your lunch without working at the same time. I hated not getting lunch as a clinical nurse. Go ahead and admit it, you resented those departments that never had to miss lunch because of patient care and always got to eat lunch together. You now control the time. Make sure to take time to eat and enjoy your lunch!

4.    Meditate or create quiet time in your day. There is no right or wrong way to meditate, simply be still. Let your mind relax and wander. You can also use guided meditation or Yoga Nidra if you want someone to walk you through the process. You can do it in as little as 5 minutes. Just be still and this will help you be more productive and less stressed. 

5.    Set aside a day each week where you are totally disconnected from your business. Give yourself a break from your business. (This is a tough one when you are just starting out). If a full day disconnected is too much then start with ½ a day.  Don’t check email, worry about a missed Facebook post, or plan your next launch; just enjoy your day as it unfolds.  As Christy Hendricks, nurse entrepreneur and founder of RNiie says, “Sundays are my day of rest. I can take a nap if I want to and not feel guilty about it at all.”

Self-care is not something to feel guilty about! You must rekindle the light within you so you can shine brightly for others to follow. 

Setting Boundaries

One of the hardest things for people to do is to set boundaries and nurses in business are no different! You think you can and have to do it all. You feel you don’t want to say no or let someone down. You feel compelled to be married to your business. While you need a healthy love for your business, you didn’t go into business wanting to be married to it. If you work from home this is sometimes an even bigger challenge because you can never leave and always know the office is close by. But you must!

Try these tips to help set your boundaries:

1.    Set defined working days and hours for your business. This will allow you, as well as your family, to know and respect your working time. This will also allow you to do #5 above (disconnect) a bit easier. Be realistic with your time and stop stressing about it. Who said you had to work 8 or 10 (or more) hours per day? Do what works for your life.  You’re not punching a time clock; you’re building a business.

2.    Have a set space for your business in your home. Don’t allow your business to be run in your office, kitchen, living, and bedroom. Define the space so that you easily (or more easily) walk away at the end of the day.

3.    Establish an end of the day ritual to help you leave behind the stress of the business day. Have a structured few minutes at the end of each workday so that you have a definite end of the day before engaging in your life activities. For more on how to establish that practice read Leave it at the Door! 4 Steps to Leave Work at the Door so You Can Enjoy Your Free Time! 

Recognize the Symptoms of Stress 

As stress builds in our business just like it does in our life, we tend to overlook the symptoms. I believe as nurses, we have perfected this ability to see stress in others but not ourselves! 

If you start to find yourself consumed with work, short-tempered, frustrated or not sleeping well… listen to your body. It is trying to key you into the fact that the stress is building inside. Don’t ignore the symptoms. Doing so may lead your body to become run down. You’ll start catching more colds, feel tired all the time, and just be fatigued overall. Use it as a self-check to see if you need a bit more self-care, or need to set better boundaries.  

There’s no magic bullet to make you immune to burnout in your business. You can take steps to work your business around your life so that you can “enjoy the journey,” as they say. Stress is our modern day plague; make sure your immunizations are up to date!


About Karrie  

Karrie is passionate about sharing the gifts of stress reduction and relaxation. After 27 years in nursing and 15 years as a hospital CNO and COO, Karrie has witnessed the toll stress takes on individuals and organizations.  Her goal is to help and support clients so no one ever gets to the point of being so frustrated and burned out that they say, “I’m DONE! I can’t do this anymore!” as she did. 

Karrie is the CEO of Healing Millions® and Co-founder of Nursing Nidra® where they are on a mission to reduce the symptoms of stress, compassion fatigue, and burnout.   Karrie is a Stress Reduction Specialist, Registered Nurse, Certified Yoga Nidra Teacher, and Certified Transformational Nutrition Coach®.  She has successfully healed her own work-related PTSD and anxiety using the same methods she teaches her clients.

Registered Nurse Innovators, Influencers, and Entrepreneurs

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