Harmony Seyram Attise’s thoughts…The inevitable dialogue: Business mood and burnout amid COVID-19

Harmony Seyram ATTISE

After the long months of dealing with the coronavirus and its wide impacts on business activities and leaders, today let’s get more veracious and dare to discuss the topic many business people lack the temerity to talk about – business mood, burnout, and depression.

Like machines wear out, humans do have limits and deteriorate as work and external business forces exceed their strength to grapple with them. Above board, we can concur all isn’t perfect – these are moments of debilitations, imbalances here and there, and self-defeating days. But, the thin line between when all that once seemed productive is falling apart and the good business days is: when does it all end? In the moments while everything is uncertain, some business leaders are taking proactive initiatives to seize control of the things they have power over. Admitting not everything can be controlled is giving them a sense of self-sufficiency, of just being human without superpowers.

We have been stressing a lot over the past months on saving businesses and lives. It’s time to get some sanity and reflect over how we can maintain a healthy balance between the stress and the pandemic. Again, not all business leaders have that much willpower. I, in the past days, have had to continuously work on finding mine. I will not brag of an easy process. Even now, there are days I can’t seem to hold it all together – we’re certainly not in normal times. And It is alright, and exactly the realisation we need to know it is all a phase.

Business Mood

Business owners are groomed by their circumstances, the clouded journeys, and by the decisions they make to effect the changes and impacts they envision – likewise, businesses grow through circumstances. Foremost, you must be an entrepreneur to wear those shoes to know exactly what it means to be groomed by circumstances or experience – For instance, wearing stilettos for a track and field meet makes it a case of the square peg in a round hole. To know that you have to wear perfect Nike footwear for track and field, you must be an athlete with good experience.

The challenges of owning a business aren’t always about finances, growth strategies, surviving competition, or satisfying customers. Most often, the struggles are about personal balances. And the result can be disastrous if balance is absent.

Dealing with crisis-related stress and still keeping a healthy balance may be as important to your business success as much as finding out how to make a profit and stay in business.

We have heard of instances where managers or business owners pass-on without any report of chronic health conditions. If you fail to effectively manage the stress and depression that accompanies productivity and making business headway despite the COVID-19, you may not live long to enjoy the success. To find the balance between work-life and living a normal life, a healthy balance should be your priority. Nevertheless, finding that balance can be a difficult challenge in a time of global abnormality.

There’s no 100% best business mood. But keeping in mind that a good amount of balance can boost it and bring great order and stress-freedom is making headway to success. Frequently, as a business owner, you have to embrace the fact that challenges and stress go hand in hand; and building yourself up in readiness for it will equip you toward bigger ones ahead when you begin to hit the millions – there’s a lot of wins post-COVID-19. So, pull yourself together, re-strategise, and foster a healthy, balanced life – business success first starts with a healthy life.


Let’s face some truths. Running a business comes with critical thinking and disruptive innovation responsibility; daily management, financial balance, customer satisfaction among many other activities. Besides the pandemic, many struggles business people are faced with emotional, physical, mental, and financial stresses – which are quite personal but get entangled with managing business progress.

Three keys to avoid burnout

  1. Exercise

WHO and health experts have endorsed regular exercise as one of the measures for keeping a healthy and alert immune system. But nobody has to be told how good exercise is, and important for the body and mind. No one should have to tell you the benefits of exercise. Exercising keeps your body in the right frame. It stimulates your mind into a relaxed state for maximum productivity, and also keeps you active. Don’t forget a healthy diet, lots of water and good sleep. Keep in mind Life before business, not the other way round.

  1. Live in the moment

Take one day at a time. Even though planning is paramount to business success, focus on one day at a time. You can’t live tomorrow today; but when you live today right, you can win tomorrow. Take things easy and steady. Stress can kill. Manage your work-life balance as a top priority. Work-life is currently more stressful, yes, we know it. You will certainly encounter many roadblocks, even much more than you bargained for – both the expected and unexpected, such as the nCov.

  1. Foster relationships

A family, they say, will always be there when everything else is ‘gone with the wind’. Your family and friends are the ones who will be there if everything falls apart, so make time with them and maintain personal activities. No matter the workloads, make sure to at least maintain a relationship you can always rely on. They will be there to motivate you when things aren’t taking the path you want them to. Even in some cases of financial difficulties, family and friends can also be your source of a financial cushion. Business relationships are also necessary in times such as this – promote partnerships, encourage business to business supports, and stimulate shared referrals.

Bleak Prospects

The hard truth is that every business has its time of big profits and losses. Business owners are allowed to grieve over those losses and groom themselves into successful entrepreneurs. There’s no luxury lifestyle without the struggles, failures and hitting the jackpot most times – further, enduring a global pandemic like the nCov. Many experienced business leaders and their great teams have had these moments, and it is not shameful to admit it can be difficult and awesomely rewarding.

My share of the business war doesn’t mean my team and I are winning, no. Knowing there is war ahead is half the battle won. Businesses plan toward disasters, risks and put in place strategic measures – this current pandemic may be extremely revealing for businesses unpreparedness and lack of leadership. You can spend years building a business and fail in a day. Businesses slave away for these hard moments – days, months and years on ideas only to gain little or no traction. If you can’t somehow adapt and identify a solution, you will probably not be successful.

Signs the nCov is hitting you hard

  1. Frequent Fatigue

You will often experience burnouts. Now, it is okay to be exhausted by the workloads and many business activities – but the instant when it becomes a threat to your business and health, note that you are no longer in charge. Frequent fatigue can also indicate a health hazard. No one needs to work non-stop for hours without any rest. Pause for a moment and get a life besides your business. It is true that managing the losses businesses are suffering as the covid-19 impact keeps bitting hard can take a heck load of a toll on you, but it is also a choice you make to keep healthy and be balanced to run it successfully.

  1. Emotional Imbalance

Let’s pick some tips from Daniel Goleman’s quote: “If your emotional abilities aren’t in hand, if you don’t have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions its hard; but if you can’t have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far”. Emotional balance is important. Like when to make the right business decisions and not be emotionally compromised. So, when you realise it has become tough to make distinct decisions and you are crushed all the time, or breaking down at the least, kindly do take a leave off work to put yourself together.

  1. Engulfed by the Feeling of Fear

You ought to do the things necessary for your business success, even when you are afraid to fail – that is the beauty of making things happen as a business leader. When you make the business vision and goals very clear, fear becomes irrelevant and the opposite is inevitable. The clarity of what your business is all about will stare fear in the face without a shade of doubt.

  1. Unproductiveness

Most business activities should result in some level of productivity, but what can you expect with a pandemic impeding productivity? You can’t be working long hours without achieving anything. Emphatically, it will be extremely exhausting and frustrating. Unproductiveness will break your emotions, it will cost you time, labour and money. Taking note of these challenges will help you redefine your process – activities, workloads, goals, etc.

Igniting a winning spirit

“Dear pessimist, optimist and realist, while you guys argued whether the glass is half-full or half-empty, I have sold the glass.” – anonymous. Typically, some businesses are indeed selling and meeting demand as best they can. These are the realities of running a business. While you’re at ‘A’, your competitors are at ‘D’ – beating you to the game. It is not that they have it easier; it could be years of experience of getting it wrong, better strategies, patience, and sometimes a bit of sheer luck. The reality is that action must be consistent, leaving no room for emotional assumptions and the game of ‘guess what’.

The big contracts won’t just drop as manna from the heavens. Businesses have no miracles. Business turnarounds are work input, hard work, and team commitment. You do not just suddenly become the world’s most successful entrepreneur with an enviable net worth.

The reality checks are many years of consistent hard work, sacrifices, bankruptcy, excessive burnouts, depressions, etc. Hold on for a moment, the reality check can out of the blue be sudden good fortune – boom, with a blast of fortune bills! It is all about hard work that combines with potential and preparedness.

>>>The writer is the CEO of Commec Group, a business development consultancy. She is a multiple award-winning Business Development Consultant and a Writer. For business and engagements: [email protected] / www.commec.group

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