We’ve all been there. Racing the sun to finish the last mow, demanding customers, the constant pressure to perform – it’s enough to make anyone feel like they’re running on empty. But here’s the thing: burnout doesn’t have to be a permanent state. You hold the keys to navigate back to a space where balance and calm are your daily companions, rather than stress and negativity.

We know it’s not easy. Trust us, we’ve all had our fair share of days where we feel stuck and immobilized by the pressure. Yet, it doesn’t always have to feel like a whack-a-mole state; let’s talk about some strategies for moving from surviving to thriving in this peak season of lawn care service we navigate every day.

And here’s where things get exciting—if you can implement a few key strategies, it can make all the difference. 

The reality of service industry burnout

Business burnout is real. It’s not a new problem and it’s not going away anytime soon either. It’s important to talk openly about it.

In a recent Founders Podcast episode, the topic was business icon, Walt Disney, and his legendary work ethic. In his prime in the 1930’s, his wife put a bed into his home office so she could feel as though she was with him. But Disney’s story can teach us something about balancing a demanding career with personal well-being.

Disney and Burnout

Disney’s life and accomplishments provide a fascinating perspective of success, but not many know how hard he drove himself and his business. The man was a legend, but he wasn’t immune to the struggles we all face in the service industry. 

Disney never settled for anything less than perfect, always pushing boundaries with his unstoppable energy. He poured his heart and soul into his work, often at the expense of his own health. He had what he described as “a heck of a [nervous] breakdown” in 1931, at the age of 30.

Burnout doesn’t play favorites; it can catch up with everyone, success stories included. Remembering and keeping our own boundaries is a strength, not a sign of weakness. Admitting them is perfectly fine. 

The next step is to develop a strategy for managing and mitigating burnout.

Burnout Prevention Strategy: self care and mindfulness

Mindfulness might sound like a woo-woo term, but it’s very practical. At heart, mindfulness is really just being in tune with your own thoughts and feelings. 

A clear mind sees stress coming from a mile away and knows just how to tackle it head-on. It’s about finding balance between the hormones that drive us (cortisol and dopamine) and the ones that help us relax (oxytocin). Imagine the impact on your life when you start practicing mindfulness daily – it’s pretty amazing.

Whether it’s meditation, prayer, breathing exercises, or simply taking a moment to reflect, these small acts of self-care can help prevent burnout. 

Let’s talk about how to implement a self care practice.

Implementing self-care in your daily routine

As a lawn care service owner, it’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind. If you want to avoid burnout, there’s no way around the necessity of prioritizing self-care. And the best way to do it is to start small.

Begin by starting your day with a calming morning routine. Even if it’s only a few minutes at first; make time to meditate, stretch, or go for a brief walk. Do something to break your current pattern of plunging into another pressure-driven day.

It’s a simple way to set a positive tone. Eventually you can start scheduling regular short breaks to reset and recharge. 

Physically or mentally, step away from your work, take a few deep breaths, and give yourself permission to relax.

As a bookend to your day; gradually build an end-of-day routine that helps you transition from work mode to relaxation mode.

This could involve reading or listening to an enjoyable podcast or book on your way home. 

One of Disney’s ‘bookends’ was his family. No matter how much his workload increased, he prioritized time with his daughters at the end of the day. Sundays were also reserved for family time.

Spending time relaxing with friends and loved ones produces oxytocin. It’s called the love or cuddle hormone, but it can also be increased by music or exercise. Reducing stress and acting as an anti-inflammatory are just a couple of benefits of oxytocin, so take note!

Create a supportive environment

For those of us keeping lawns looking their best, building a team atmosphere where everyone feels valued is key. Burnout is contagious, but you can offset it by becoming a positive presence for your people. The best leaders are very deliberate about this.

Encourage open communication with your team members about stress and workload management. Let them know that it’s okay to speak up when they’re feeling overwhelmed.

If possible, offer flexible scheduling or even an occasional day off. A little bit of rest and relaxation can go a long way in preventing burnout.

Don’t overlook the importance of a strong support system away from work either.

Disney’s daughters considered him a fantastic parent, despite the long hours he worked. In fact, one of his daughters didn’t even know he was thatWalt Disney until she learned it from her kindergarten classmates!

Putting it all together

It’s not just about individual well-being, but the overall success of your business. As service industry professionals, we need to prioritize balance. It’s not always easy, but it’s essential if we want to avoid burnout and maintain a thriving business.

Next steps

If you’re feeling inspired to take action, here are a few next steps to consider:

  • Begin experimenting with your own daily calming ‘bookends’ to relieve some pressure.
  • Identify one self-care practice that you enjoy and strive to make it a regular practice.
  • Encourage open dialogue about stress and burnout within your team. It’s about making it OK to talk about the challenges of keeping pace in a busy season while also keeping ourselves healthy.

Remember, burnout is a real problem in the service industry. But with the right strategies and support, we can prevent it from taking over our lives and our businesses.

Service industry burnout is no joke. 

It can leave you feeling drained, disconnected, and questioning everything. But stress doesn’t have to define you. By prioritizing self-care, setting boundaries, leaning on your support system, and finding ways to rediscover your passion, you can rise above the burnout and come out stronger on the other side.

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