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Navigating Neurodivergent Business Burnout: Reclaim Your Magic

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Burnout is a sneaky, pervasive enemy for many biz folk, and it can be especially challenging for neurodivergent business owners.

The relentless hustle culture and toxic productivity often push us to our limits, leaving us exhausted and disconnected. But it doesn’t have to be this way!

Let’s dive into the causes and impact of burnout, and explore how curiosity and self-connection practices can help us reclaim our magic.

Understanding Neurodivergent Business Burnout

Burnout in neurodivergent business owners can stem from various sources, including:

  • Systemic Issues: We live in a world that often values conformity over individuality. This pressure to fit in can lead to toxic productivity and hustle culture, which are breeding grounds for burnout. Add to that expectations to work to neurotypical standards that may not fit your spicy brain and burnout beckons.

  • Sensory Overload: For those of us with heightened sensitivity, the constant barrage of stimuli in our environments can be overwhelming. Being too cold or too warm, distracting background noises and visual clutter can all contribute to a sense of overwhelm, even if you're not aware of it consciously.

  • Executive Dysfunction: Challenges with organisation, time management, and task initiation can make running a business incredibly taxing and frustrating. It can also trigger feelings of shame and guilt when things don't go as we hope.

  • Social Expectations: Navigating social interactions and expectations can be draining, particularly in networking and client-facing situations. Masking takes up a lot of emotional and mental energy, even if it's just showing up on Zoom calls and social media channels - it all takes its toll.

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How Does Burnout Feel?

Burnout can manifest in various ways, including:

  • Physical Symptoms: persistent exhaustion, frequent headaches, lingering illness and sleep disturbances can all be signs of burnout as well as things that contribute to your burnout, making it worse and last longer.

  • Emotional Symptoms: Feelings of overwhelm, anxiety, and irritability can all accompany burnout as well as feelings of guilt about how much you are not getting done as you sink further in... Talk about your vicious cycle!

  • Cognitive Symptoms: Difficulty concentrating, memory problems, a lack of focus and a sense of detachment can all be signs you are in burnout - and like the physical and emotional symptoms, they can create a feedback cycle of making your burnout worse as they rob you of your ability to get things done. You may also feel more withdrawn and even experience a shutdown or meltdown if things feel like they become too much.

When burnout takes hold, it can feel like you’re constantly running on empty, with your creative spark dimmed and your passion waning.

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The Impact on Your Business

Burnout doesn’t just affect you personally; it can also have significant repercussions on your business too:

  • Decreased Productivity: When you’re burnt out, your ability to work efficiently plummets, leading to missed deadlines and unfinished projects. The stress piles up and the burnout wheel spins faster.

  • Reduced Creativity: Burnout stifles creativity, and zaps away your passion even for things you usually enjoy, making it challenging to come up with fresh ideas and innovative solutions.

  • Strained Relationships: Your interactions with clients, partners, and employees may suffer as you try to juggle a growing list of to-dos against a dwindling supply of energy, potentially damaging important relationships.

  • Financial Strain: The combination of reduced productivity and strained relationships can lead to financial difficulties, adding more stress to an already challenging situation.

Strategies to Reduce Neurodivergent Business Burnout

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Embrace Curiosity and Self-Connection Practices

One powerful way to combat burnout is to nurture curiosity and self-connection - two powerful antidotes to break the spells of conformity and disconnect Here are some practices to help you get started:

  • Being present: Take regular breaks through the day to reflect on your feelings and experiences - create connection by asking yourself these 3 questions:

    • what do I need right now?

    • what’s draining my energy

    • where do I need to focus my energy next?

(and if you need some help with connecting and reflecting on your feelings, try this free resource and this one too.)

  • Creative Exploration: Engage in activities that spark your curiosity and joy, whether it’s painting, writing, or exploring nature. Allow yourself to play and experiment without any pressure to achieve a specific outcome. Let your inner child guide you, and if you're not sure how - this free resource can help.

  • Prioritise Self Connection: Creating a regular self-connection practice can take as little as a few minutes each day, or perhaps 30-45 minutes a month with something like the Dark Moon Club.

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Set Boundaries and Prioritise Self-Care

Establishing healthy boundaries and prioritising self-care are essential steps in preventing burnout before you get into the murky depths of it. Consider the following strategies:

  • Schedule Downtime: Allocate regular time for rest and relaxation in your calendar. Treat it as non-negotiable, just like any other important business meeting - it's an important date with yourself and you are worthy of the time spent.

  • Delegate Tasks: Identify tasks that drain your energy and consider delegating them to others. This could involve hiring a virtual assistant or outsourcing specific projects. If you struggle to identify things you can entrust to anyone else, then consider instead where you are taking on too much; where you are expecting too much from yourself and what stories you hold around working hard that are creating a resistance to asking for help.

  • Create a Support Network: Surround yourself with supportive individuals who understand and respect your neurodivergent needs. Connect with fellow neurodivergent entrepreneurs who can offer empathy and encouragement. Looking for a place to connect - why not sign up for a monthly connection circle?

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Challenge Toxic Productivity

Resisting the pressure of toxic productivity and embracing a more sustainable approach to work is crucial for long-term success and wellbeing. Here’s how:

  • Redefine Success: If you are delaying happiness and worthiness until a point in the future where you can finally feel "successful" then when do you get to feel happiness in the meantime? Shift your focus from constant output to meaningful progress. Celebrate small victories and recognise the value of rest and recovery.

  • Implement Cyclical Living: Align your work patterns with your natural energy cycles. Even if you don't have a menstrual cycle, there are seasons, moon cycles and circadian rhythms that you can align your energy and schedule to. Get curious and pay attention to when you feel most energised and schedule your most demanding tasks during those times.

  • Practice Self-Compassion: Be gentle with yourself when things don’t go as planned. Acknowledge your efforts and remember that setbacks are part of the journey. Self judgement is one of the most toxic behaviours that contributes and perpetuates burnout so keeping it check and swap it out for self compassion and grace whenever it pops up.

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Neurodivergent business burnout is a real and challenging experience, but it doesn’t have to define your biz adventure. By understanding its causes, recognising its impacts, and embracing practices that foster curiosity and self-connection, you can navigate burnout and thrive in your business.

Remember, your uniqueness is your strength, and by honouring it, you can create a business that not only succeeds but also brings you joy and fulfilment.

Let’s reclaim our magic, one mindful step at a time!

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