We’ve all heard of burnout, right? It’s a common theme of conversation among business owners. However when it comes to being a childcare business owner, it can get a whole lot more serious. And the effect of burnout can have devastating repercussions for your daycare.
I joked in my Monday Moves YouTube video that Godzilla is my burnout coach…but all joking aside, this is a topic that needs to broken wide open!! So, while Godzilla may not actually be coaching me about childcare burnout, it is a very real thing and it can totally kill your childcare business.
Why it matters
Not only have childcare business owners been battered with the Covid-19 stick this last 18 months, there’s another pandemic that’s impacting too: BURNOUT.
Not too long ago, my work phone was ringing off the hook with back-to-back parents desperate for childcare provision. I couldn’t figure out what was up. Had there been some new housing nearby? A new company moved into the neighbourhood maybe? Nope. It was because a center in our area had closed. Not just temporarily because of coronavirus testing, but actually shut.
And when I investigated further it’s because the owner had completely burnt out. They’d had enough and thrown in the towel.
Many childcare businesses have been lost to provider burnout and if you don’t want to be the next childcare business that is putting up a CLOSED sign on your door, then now is the time to learn how to recognize it and how to combat it. After all, you can’t be essential if you’re not even open.
What is burnout exactly?
According to Kat Hounsell in an interview with Medical News Today, “In a nutshell, [burnout] is a syndrome brought on from chronic workplace stress that hasn’t been successfully managed.” It is a state of mental and physical exhaustion that absolutely sucks the joy out of your job and your relationships. Not a great place to be if you’re trying to run a childcare business, right?
If you’re continually exposed to stressful situations, like caring for an elderly parent, or working long hours or late shifts this can lead to burnout. Sometimes it can be the trauma of modern life and the constant upsetting news – like the death toll of Covid or another school shooting – that pushes you over the edge.
However, helping professionals, such as doctors, nurses, teachers and childcare owners are especially vulnerable to this health condition. Which is why I need you to know
But what does that actually mean? What are the signs?
How to spot burnout
There are things you can look out for when it comes to chronic stress and burning out. When you know what to keep an eye on, it can only be a good thing.
- Emotional exhaustion: it causes people to feel drained, massively overwhelmed, and dog-tired. You’ll notice a lack of energy to get your work tasks done.
- Loss of enthusiasm for work: People experiencing burnout view their jobs as increasingly stressful and frustrating. You might notice that you’ve grown cynical about the job or maybe people you work with. You may also emotionally distance yourself from your team and begin to feel numb about your work.
- Reduced performance: has an impact on everyday tasks at work. You might feel negative about tasks. You’ll probably have difficulty concentrating and sometimes find that you can’t be creative anymore.
- Physical symptoms: Chronic stress may lead to physical symptoms, like headaches and stomach aches or gut problems. And it can lower your immune system, making you more susceptible to colds, the flu, and insomnia. You’re also more likely to suffer with mental health issues like depression and anxiety.
And these things creep up. They don’t happen all at once.
What I’ve noticed about burnout
From my own experience of burnout, and watching some of my peers suffering too, I know how we can prevent it happening to you. There are 3 main things that we’re not doing that cause us to burnout. Firstly we don’t have good enough systems in place; we fail to delegate anything; and we neglect ourselves.
So here’s how to tackle each of those:
Sort out your lack of systems
Don’t eye roll! You know I’m right! Burnout is one of the reasons that I’m a huge advocate of systems. I’ve learned the hard way that having systems in place solves a large number of stress issues. So trust me when I say that you need to have better systems in your childcare business.
Having tried and tested systems means that you can relax a little. You’ll have a solid way of doing things so that other people can take the reins when you go on holiday. By putting the systems approach to work in your childcare business—however large or small!—you’ll grow a better and more efficient business AND be less stressed which means you can dodge burnout!
Start by downloading this systems freebie!
Part and parcel of being a childcare business owner is being a control freak. You know it. I know it. We love to be in charge, right? And that does have its positives. We get stuff done! We can be efficient go-getters and we’re leading a team of childcare workers well…or are we?
Sometimes good leadership is about delegating. It means you’ve got to trust your team members. So take a deep breath and remember that you hired them because they’re well-qualified, brilliant humans who love kids. Why not give them a chance to shine? Picture yourself as Oprah – “You get a task, and you get a task, and you!”
Giving opportunities to your team to lead so that you can take your foot off the gas is an essential for keeping burnout at bay. And this is linked to systems because if you’ve got those in place, you can be safe in the knowledge that they’ve got a map and compass for the journey without you!
Prioritize self care
When was the last time you took a holiday? Or even a lunch break? This is the main reason, I believe, that childcare business owners burnout. We constantly put everyone else first.
So to combat burnout, you need to start taking your well-being seriously. You need to put yourself at the top of the to-do list for a change. What do you do to wind down? Self care doesn’t have to be an expensive trip to the spa!! Sometimes going for a walk, talking to a friend, or watching an funny program on television can spark some joy. Small self care gestures like these can stop stress from turning into something more serious, like burnout. Here’s a blog that might be useful.
But from my perspective, I must say that a holiday is pretty essential. Doesn’t have to be a fancy trip away, it could just be a week in your home with your phone on airplane mode and binging on Netflix and homecooked delicious food instead of rushed take-outs.
Looking after yourself, asking for help and setting up systems are the keys to not burning out. Hands up who’s gonna start today?
Hopefully after reading this blog post, you can see how burnout can be avoided by making a few small changes to your daily routine. Even if you’re working long hours, taking care of young children, and also running a home on top of a childcare business – remember to sprinkle a little joy into your day-to-day life.
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