Connie Whitesell (00:00):

As a small business owner, do you ever find yourself wondering, man, I am feeling really overwhelmed. Am I on my way to burnout? Or maybe you’re already feeling burnt out and wondering how you’ll manage to get everything done you need to and just start feeling better. Or maybe, you know, could be taking better care of yourself, but even the thought of that feels overwhelming. These are just some of the areas on which Daniella’s guidance today provided immediately actionable help. Welcome, I am Connie Whitesell, your host of the Small Biz 1 0 1 podcast. Today’s guest burnout prevention strategist, Daniela Wolf, discussed all of these concerns and shared her three-part process for both preventing and overcoming burnout. These included tips on developing and also maintaining an empowered mindset, effective time planning, including boundary setting and incorporating even small nuggets of self-care that can make a huge difference on your life. When done regularly, give this a listen. And as always, if you’re interested in overall strategic growth in your business while saving valuable time and being more productive, please visit my website scattered to streamlined.com and download your free productivity planning guide. I think you’ll find this compliment Daniella’s work. Well now enjoy the show.

Speaker 2 (01:33):

Welcome to the Small Biz 1 0 1 podcast, a show for big dreamers who want to start or grow their small businesses. And now your host, long-term small business owner and strategic business coach, Connie Whitesell.

Connie Whitesell (01:51):

All right, welcome. Welcome. We are currently streaming live on LinkedIn. If you’re watching, let us know. Drop in a hello, a happy Tuesday, maybe an emoji that reflects your mood, whatever strikes you. And if you’re watching the replay, go ahead and type in replay so we know you are here. If you are watching on the YouTube channel or listening on the small biz one-on-one podcast. Hello, hello to you as well. Thank you so much for being here. I am Connie Whitesell, the founder of Scattered to Streamlined Business Coaching, and I do these interviews once or twice a month to support small business owners by providing guest experts in areas that are so needed by entrepreneurs. Lately we have done marketing automation was last month we had a great conversation with Michael Roach. We’ve talked about legal issues pertaining to small business owners, mindset support, website considerations, making the most of your sales efforts.

(02:57):

There’s so many great topics and we will be talking today about a critical topic of preventing burnout or addressing it once it happens and discussing different ways for addressing and hopefully preventing. And I feel like Daniela, I can so relate lately with the balancing of work and a big move and an elderly mother who’s struggling. Sometimes things happen that you just can’t plan for and you have to be so, so careful. So I am so excited to have Daniela Wolf here. Daniela helps stressed and burned out professionals, ditch the guilt, yay and overwhelm and productively manage daily tasks with ease and have the time and energy for self-care every day. She has been an LMSW for 27 years focused on self-care, stress management skills, mindfulness relationships, parenting and managing all the chaos of life. So Daniella really knows of what she speaks. Daniella is also a working mom of two. Her mission is to empower you to be, excuse me, to prioritize yourself on your to-do list and learn the strategies to prevent burnout and make over your daily life. And when she’s not at work, you can find Daniella out on her SUP, her standup Paddle paddleboard. Hopefully you’re doing a lot of that these days in this nice warm weather or hiking both summer and winter reading and traveling. So Daniela, it is so nice to have you here with me.

Daniela Wolfe (04:44):

Thank you so much, Connie. I’m so excited to be here. I know we’ve been planning this for months, so I’m glad it’s finally here.

Connie Whitesell (04:50):

Right, right, absolutely. So I’m curious what drew you specifically to do this type of work now where you are focusing on helping people with these particular issues? Right, so what drew you to this initially?

Daniela Wolfe (05:08):

Yeah, actually it came a lot from my own personal experience with burnout. Even though I’ve been a social worker, like you said, for 27 years, I think a lot of times we’re great at not always practicing what we preach, and I kind of got myself in a position about 18 years ago where I ended up burnt out. My kids were a bit younger. I was going through a divorce. I was a single working mom with two little kids. They were about four and six months old, and at the time, I am a very high achiever. I wanted to do it all, be it all, prove I could handle all the responsibilities, maybe wasn’t so great at asking for help, and I just kind of found myself in that pursuit of almost perfection, also very irritable, snapping at my kids more than I wanted to. Always rushing, always on the go, never really laughing and having fun the way I used to, and I realized that wasn’t who I was, who wanted my kids to grow up knowing who I wanted to be.

(06:05):

And so I started making some small changes, finally implementing some of that social work stuff on my own as far as allowing for some help. I used, at the time, Wegmans had free childcare, so I would put my kids in there. There was childcare at the gym I, I started a very small gratitude practice of just listing three things every day that I was grateful for and they weren’t massive. Sometimes being in the northeast, the sun was finally out and I was so excited for that. Maybe I had my banana smoothie, maybe someone held the door for me and realized as I started making just these super small incremental changes, not only was I showing up happier and better, so were my kids, we were having fun again, they were sharing with me things they got to do, things they learned, and I realized as I was making these changes, just kind of living myself, talking, being me, people were coming to me and asking how I was doing that or they were sharing with me little moments they took for themselves because of something I said because of something I did. And I realized I think we’re all looking at it for that validation and permission that it’s okay to start to prioritize ourselves and realize that we need to recognize it for the daily necessity that it is.

Connie Whitesell (07:19):

Absolutely. You said something in there that really hit home for me. When you find that you are not laughing and having fun anymore, what a perfect sign of that. I think we’re used to knowing when we feel stressed in our body or recognizing when we may feel overwhelmed, but that’s a really good thing to consider. Are you still laughing? Are you still enjoying life? Right. That’s right.

Daniela Wolfe (07:42):

I think we take that stress as the norm. We just accept that as we get older, work is stressful, life is stressful, and we don’t have to accept that as the norm as well as why are we modeling that for our family and our kids around us.

Connie Whitesell (07:58):

Absolutely. And right there, the way you handled things with just, you mentioned just a few tips right off the bat that started helping you. It doesn’t have to be something really big or involved or something that you commit to for a long period of time. There are simple ways of addressing this, and I want to get into all of that, but I love that we’ve already got tips already for ways to prevent and to handle things when it happens. But I’m curious, what are some ways that you perhaps see small business owners, solopreneurs setting themselves up for burnout? So on the way to that, what do you see?

Daniela Wolfe (08:40):

Yeah, I think a lot of times when it comes to burnout, we assume it comes from something negative, something we don’t like, a job that we don’t care for or situation we’re not happy with, but burnout can also come from the things we’re super passionate about that we enjoy doing. It could be our business, it could be our kids, it could be a relationship. Those things that we go all in on that we kind of push our boundaries to the side for. I know I love my business and could spend tons of hours in it. And the thing is, that’s not helpful either because when we’re a solopreneur an entrepreneur, we’re going to ride those highs and lows so much more intensely because this is our baby. This is something we’re passionate about. We are so driven and so invested in it as well as we feel like we’re the only ones going through things, especially with social media, we see everyone else six K months, I’m doing this, I’m doing that, and it seems like everybody’s crushing it when in reality everybody goes through highs and lows in their business.

(09:40):

You might have a drought and a down period, and I don’t think we talk about some of those things enough. I know having communities where you can be with other entrepreneurs, but really recognizing that we need those same boundaries and balance in our life. Just like with something we don’t like to be able to say, okay, I’m done. I’m going to go do something fun. I’m going to invest in my family, I’m going to invest in some friendships. I’m going to do other things and stay kind of well-rounded. And I’ll talk a little bit more about that when I talk about self-care because those are some of the things that really preventatively help us protect against burnout and help us maintain that passion, that productivity and creativity that helps make us successful.

Connie Whitesell (10:24):

Well, such a good point about how this doesn’t have to be necessarily for what we consider stressful activities, although it could be, but you’re right, it’s really easy to get wrapped up in a particularly business, that’s for sure. I know I took some time off for a move and I was so excited to get back into things and went a little the other way was working long hours, was catching up on things and all of a sudden, wait, I need to step back a second because there isn’t that balance,

Daniela Wolfe (10:56):

And when I talk about work-life balance, a lot of people will say, oh, you can’t really have balance because not, you can’t have everything being equal, and I don’t think that’s really what creates balance. It’s not about trying to find that equality balance. I define it as what comes from being able to adapt, pivot, have that resilience in those boundaries is where you’re really going to be able to find that balance. Because like you said at the beginning, life happens, whether it’s with our parents, our kids, a move, all sorts of ups and downs, and having those systems in place that allow us to be able to see things from a growth mindset, see things from different perspectives and different options and opportunities, is what’s going to help us find that flow and balance so that it feels aligned with us and we’re not kind of pushing against the grain. We only allow for things to be one way.

Connie Whitesell (11:48):

Absolutely. And I just want to just split off for just a moment just to thank Amy and Sarah for jumping in with comments here. Happy to have you here. Amy loves the gratitude journaling. I have to say that I do too. I do it on a daily basis, and so if you’re here, come on in, share your comments, questions for Daniela, but Daniela, I would love it if you just mentioned about boundaries and systems. Would you talk a bit more about those and maybe give us some examples?

Daniela Wolfe (12:17):

Absolutely. Absolutely. Boundaries is one of my favorite B words. Anybody who listens to me knows that because I think boundaries get a bad rap. I think they’re seen as a wall, as a hard no, where boundaries actually provide a lot of freedom. There’s two analogies I use when it comes to describing boundaries. You think of your favorite coffee shop, I was that one the other day, and you go when you know that they’re open, they post their hours, they’re from seven to four, so I’m not going to go there at 5:00 AM and expect ’em to be open and then be frustrated because they’re not, or go there at six o’clock and again, frustrated because they’re not open. When we communicate our boundaries, it gives us the freedom as well as gives. Let’s go. The expectations and guilt of having to respond, of having to answer because now when they’re available, they know when you’re available.

(13:05):

Oh, I’m going to respond in 24 hours. The other analogy I use is kind of like if you had a new puppy, you could put it on a leash in your backyard and it can only going to go in limited directions, but if you had that fence in place, it can run. It has tons of freedom, but again, it keeps it contained within your comfort level and your comfort zone. So by communicating your boundaries, whether it’s your business boundaries of I’m open from nine to five, if you send an email after five, you’ll hear back from me tomorrow, your personal boundaries, those types of things of, oh, I can’t commit to this weekend, but maybe in a couple of months or next weekend. That communication is key to holding onto those boundaries. And I know a lot of times, like I said, especially in our business, we push them aside because we think we want to get ahead. We have to be constantly serving or just kind of, we enjoy doing it. So we think we don’t need to spend other areas in our life, but we absolutely do. And then again, back to that balance of being able to adapt, knowing what your options are, having that resilience, there are going to be highs and lows, but it’s about not unpacking and staying in those low places, not letting that define you, and having then the ability to pivot and see what other choices you can make to help you be successful in that way.

Connie Whitesell (14:27):

When you were talking about these boundaries and how we need to set those, I think it’s also important to talk about how sometimes we ourselves train people to break boundaries by say, on email, responding to somebody on a Sunday or late in the evening, even if you’re doing some work yourself at that time and responding and get used to, well, I can contact them at any time they respond back, right? That’s been the case, so I don’t think I’m bothering them. Right. So it’s being aware of what we’re doing on this end as well.

Daniela Wolfe (15:02):

Absolutely. And definitely I think we can still set ourselves up. Boundaries can still be a yes, but, or it can be if you are say, working on a Sunday and do a couple emails, you can schedule them to be sent later. So again, you might be able to take the time at your discretion and your choice to work outside of your boundary, but you don’t have to broadcast it to the world.

Connie Whitesell (15:26):

Yeah. Thank you for clarifying that. Absolutely. Amy just said too, boundaries set expectations and freedom, not limits. Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah, it is so true. Are there other areas that come to your mind that are helpful to focus on, to create what we were talking about that work-life balance to the extent possible?

Daniela Wolfe (15:48):

Absolutely. I kind of mentioned a little bit, the three areas that I really focus on when I work on with clients is your mindset, your time planning, and your self-care. And I always start with mindset only because I believe when you think differently, you feel differently, and when you feel differently, you act differently. So many times I think people jump right into the actions and then they’re like, oh, it didn’t work. Even though maybe the whole time they were say, going for a walk or doing something fun, they were thinking through their to-do list or they were feeling guilty for not being at work. They hadn’t worked on some of that mindset piece of how they thought about their free time and how they were approaching their schedule and their day, and looking at some of those limiting beliefs and where those come from. So looking at your mindset from a growth mindset standpoint of looking at options, the word yet is one of my favorites.

(16:40):

Just because you can’t do something doesn’t mean it’s a hard set limit. It’s always something that’s possible. So seeing that you can pivot and adapt comes again from that open mindset of knowing that there’s always possibility, there’s always room to grow. The next part of that time planning, I use a couple different tools. I use the Eisenhower Matrix to help people really prioritize what needs to happen in their day. I think in today’s society everything becomes important and urgent. Everything has to happen right now. You get a buzz on your phone, you have to check it, you get an email, you think you have to respond. And really being able to kind of prioritize your tasks for your day intentionally into what really needs to happen, getting comfortable, delegating, getting comfortable, maybe pushing things out and scheduling as well as eliminating things that just don’t need to happen right now.

(17:33):

And there’s no one way to do that. I think everyone has their own personal preference when it comes to looking at their time, but finding a way that’s going to work for you intentionally, and not only scheduling those things that have to happen, but scheduling what I love to call buffers between appointments so that either a life can happen and you have the free time to allow for it to happen without feeling overwhelmed, or that’s then times you can add in that self-care. And when I talk about self-care, it’s not these massive spa days and bubble baths and massages that take hours, but they’re small, practical moments of self-care can be 10 minutes or less even throughout your day and different points in time that really make a difference. I think when we look at self-care as a daily necessity, just like eating and brushing our teeth and things like that, you can’t eat on Sunday and think you won’t be hungry on Tuesday.

(18:26):

You can’t do self-care once on Saturday and think you’re good for the week. And so looking at practical self-care strategies that go across different areas, I talk about everything from how you eat, how you sleep, how you move, how you connect with others, how you think about money, how you dress, how you decorate and organize your home, as well as the traditional personal development is really going to help you create a fluid system of options and opportunities throughout your day. Like I said, that can be done in small incremental amounts of time and not only provide maybe some calm and relaxation, but also light you up, create that energy, create that self-confidence that’s going to help set you up for success, propel your productivity and your creativity and help you across the board.

Connie Whitesell (19:17):

Oh, such great advice with all three of these, and I want to dive a little bit more into them since you’re talking about self-care right now, and you mentioned a whole lot of examples there. What are your three favorites? If you had to name three favorite practical ways of doing that, self-care and small increments that you find helpful for yourself and clients, what would they be typically?

Daniela Wolfe (19:38):

So for me personally, and granted I’m speaking from someone who’s been doing a practice for a while. I have a solid morning routine, a solid nighttime routine. They each happen every single day, even if they look different, I allow myself that grace of, there’s some mornings I might only have 10, 15 minutes, but I’m still going to do say 10 minutes of movement. There’s 10 minute yoga routines you can find. There’s four minute HIIT workouts. Sometimes they may have longer to do longer, but I always do that movement in the morning. I might do a couple minutes of meditation at night. I’m always my skincare routine. I read an actual book every night, but it might be three sentences. It might be three pages, but it’s the fact that there’s the consistency in the fact that they happen every day regardless of how long they’re is part of the self-care practice of it.

(20:28):

I listen to books and podcasts on my commute from work. I talk to my family. My son calls me every day on his drive home from work. That’s part of my self-care is just to get that phone call as well as for him. That’s part of his routine that he’s implemented in place. When I use the restroom at work, I’m not going to come straight back to my desk. I’m going to go do the stairs once or twice and get some extra movement in. There’s so many small ways throughout your day. When I talk to clients, a lot of times that can sound daunting and overwhelming, and so I always start super small with them to put a one minute reminder in their phone five times a day, and just for that one minute, you’re not going to go on social media. You’re not going to scroll.

(21:09):

You’re just going to sit there for a minute and do maybe some breathing. You can do a four second in four second hold four second out, four second hold, you can drink some water. Hydration is always super great as a form of self-care. We don’t even appreciate how important that is. You can do some shoulder shrugs and some muscle relaxants, and just for one minute, you don’t realize how long one minute is when you’re not doing anything else but focusing on it. You can then start to lower your cortisol levels, lower those stress levels kind of be able to slow your breathing down as well as you do it five times a day, you have a five minute self-care practice. You’re going to get a dopamine hit from setting a goal and actually completing it and being successful. So just that small little shift alone will start to have some of those subtle subconscious kind of benefits to it. And it might not feel automatically, instantly, like I’m totally calm. But you’ll find that over time, you’re actually able to respond rather than react in situations. And that’s a big part of where self-care comes in is our ability to be able to take that moment before we say things. We don’t mean respond irrationally, all those kind of things. And so you start to get some of those benefits emotionally as well as physically and mentally.

Connie Whitesell (22:31):

Oh, this is so helpful. I encourage anyone watching or listening to this to take a pause or right after you finish this and just jot down some ideas for yourself. If you’re not doing practical self-care or some kind of techniques on a regular basis, what can you do to help support yourself in the morning, in the evening? What could you do during those one minute breaks and set that timer so you have a go-to, and you have something that you can implement right away to help bring those stress levels down and help support yourself right away. So many great ideas there.

Daniela Wolfe (23:13):

Absolutely. And the smaller, the easier it’s going to be and the easier it is, the easier it’s going to be to maintain it. I think we start so hard and so big sometimes, and that’s where we can trip ourselves up because it’s harder to stick with it then. Yeah,

Connie Whitesell (23:28):

Yeah. Like any habits that we’re developing. That makes perfect sense. And then I want to backtrack a little bit, because you were talking about the three in discussing the three tips. You mentioned working on mindset, how important that was initially. And I wonder if you could give some examples there too, of what you find works really well for empowering your mindset.

Daniela Wolfe (23:52):

Absolutely, and definitely I think from a practice standpoint, mindset can take the most work a little bit because it’s the conversation in our head. And I think a lot of times, unfortunately, we are more negative with ourselves than we would be with anybody else who came to us with the same statements, the same thoughts, that type of thing. And so it’s a process about creating new neural pathways in your brain. So it’s a science back process where if you imagine you were going for a hike in the woods, the trail that’s well worn that you’ve been going down for years, if you were going to create a new path, you need to kind of get rid of the clutter. You need to go over it consistently and repeatedly in order to get that well warmness of it so that it’s easy to fall into and follow.

(24:37):

And so the first step is identifying maybe some of those negative thoughts and beliefs that you have, maybe that I should or people will think, or those types of statements that maybe get in the way when you’re trying to take care of yourself or trying to relax. Sometimes it even helps just to write them down. When we reread statements, journals, that type of thing, we actually can hear them in that outside voice as if a friend were talking to us and be able to respond to them a little bit more objectively than if they just stay in our head. But then also come up with what would you say if this was your bestie talking to you, what would you say to them? And how would you respond and learn to start practicing that statement or reframing the narrative, like I said, with that word yet, I’m not good at technology yet.

(25:25):

I’m not great with money yet. And that now allows that option of possibility and hope in order to improve, in order to get better, and it allows you the freedom to grow and not stay stuck in that place. So those would be just some of the options to start practicing slowly. And that one is a process where you really need to kind of catch yourself, be able to rephrase those things. People do positive affirmations in the morning to just even start their day with that mindset. You’ve heard some of them maybe like, I’m a money magnet. I’m a successful entrepreneur. I’m confident and outgoing, and being able to tell yourself those things. Our mind believes what we tell it as well as it begins to notice it. Again, I get a little geeked out on the science part of it. I love it. There’s a part of our brain called the Raz, the reticular activating system, and when we tell ourselves those things, we start to activate that part of the brain.

(26:22):

We notice the positive more, like when we do a gratitude practice and things like that. And it’s almost like you ever say you’re going to go car shopping for a red car, and all of a sudden you start seeing red cars everywhere on the road, and it’s not that there’s more of them. We’re just actually opened up the part of our brain to notice them more. And it’s the same with positive statements. We start to then notice that positive more. We start to appreciate it more because we’ve triggered that part of our brain to tune into it.

Connie Whitesell (26:52):

Beautiful. Another thought that came to my mind that I like to do is taking some time to visualize my future, visualize my future self, and then think to myself, all right, what can I incorporate about that now? How can I be that person now?

Daniela Wolfe (27:09):

I hear that be her now is a great, great mantra.

Connie Whitesell (27:12):

Yeah. Yeah. I just love that. Thank you for sharing those. Those are terrific tips. And mj, mj, it was so good to have you pop in here, said The box breathing reminded me of my calm app. Right? There are amazing apps out there. I just checked, and you can set reminders for mindfulness in the app. I’m going to do that today. All right.

Daniela Wolfe (27:38):

That’s awesome. Taking

Connie Whitesell (27:38):

Action immediately. I love it. Oh, perfect. Alright. Well, Daniella, thank you so much and I wondered if you would share how you support people in your coaching? Do you work? How do you

Daniela Wolfe (27:54):

Yeah, absolutely. So I do do one-to-one coaching. I have a three month program. It’s called the Exhausted to Empowered Formula, where I walk you through that mindset, time planning, self-care, and really craft and customize the systems that are going to work best for you. I also do corporate trainings for businesses to help their employees find that work-life balance and harmony. I have a digital course called the Time Takeover Micro Course that walks you through that whole time planning component alone in small modules. I think they’re like eight minutes or less, so that you can either listen to it on the go and really help be more intentional with your time. Plus, I have a ton of great free resources and a podcast as well called Bestie Life with Daniela.

Connie Whitesell (28:38):

Perfect. And what is the best way to reach you? To find you? We’ll be sure to post everything in the comments and in the note section of various places this will be in, but if you would share that as well. Sure.

Daniela Wolfe (28:51):

So my website is best d life.com. I’m on LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook. Also best D Life, I think on Instagram, it’s best under D Life. My podcast is everywhere, Spotify, apple, all those types of things. And my email is daniella@bestielife.com.

Connie Whitesell (29:13):

Perfect. So we’ll be sure to put that everywhere because you have so much to offer and so many ways that people can take advantage of both what you have for free and hiring you to help support them in any aspect of this. This has just been so helpful to hear. So Daniella, I really appreciate all of the tips that you’ve provided, all of the recommendations. I think you’ve got the gears going in all of our heads for what we can do to really prevent burnout. If it feels like it’s coming on or address it, if it feels like it’s already here. So thank you.

Daniela Wolfe (29:52):

No, thank you so much, Connie. I am so glad to be here.

Connie Whitesell (29:55):

And thank you as well too, our listeners, people who are watching here, who joined us live, however you happen to be consuming this. I’m very thankful that you are here and I know you’re taking away some amazing nuggets of gold for yourself, both in your life and your business.

Speaker 2 (30:17):

Thank you for listening to the Small Biz 1 0 1 Podcast with your host, Connie Whitesell. For more information, visit small biz 1 0 1 podcast.com.