Working as a dietitian nutrition coach is amazing! You get to help others become the healthiest version of themselves. At the same time, this can be draining for nutrition coaches because it requires much mental, physical, and emotional energy. All of this can lead to burnout which ultimately takes a toll on your health. In this article we will discuss a few ways to avoid burnout out as a dietitian nutrition coach.
Before we get into the bulk of it, though, first allow me to introduce myself. My name is Tony Stephan and I’m a dietitian business coach. I help RDs make more IMPACT and more INCOME through nutrition coaching. However, before I became an RD business coach, I was a dietitian nutrition coach just like you. I served thousands of nutrition coaching clients over a time span of 12 years. My successful nutrition coaching business is what led me to where I am today. Now, let me share with you some ways to help YOU avoid burnout now and in the future!
What Exactly Is Burnout, And How Does It Happen?
According to PsychologyToday, burnout is defined as “a state of emotional, mental, and often physical exhaustion brought on by prolonged or repeated stress”. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’re doing too much or working long hours, however, those factors do contribute to burnout. It often happens when someone feels in conflict with their sense of self, or if they feel as if they lack any/all control.
How Is Burnout Different Than Stress?
Stress is usually more short-term or short-lived compared to burnout. Burnout, by definition, is characterized by prolonged stress that feels impossible to find relief. Burnout typically results in a loss of enthusiasm and motivation, and it often takes a more mental or emotional toll. Burnout also leads to poorer job performance. On the other hand, stress typically results in a loss of energy and often takes a more physical toll. If the stress begins to feel chronic or endless and you experience feelings of hopelessness, that would be indicative of burnout.
4 Tips To Avoid Burnout
Draw Healthy Boundaries
Drawing boundaries as a dietitian nutrition coach can begin at the very beginning of your client/coach relationship. You can set expectations on the discovery call or consult call by explaining what you’d expect from them as a client and what they’d expect from you as their coach.
You can build upon those expectations and set clear boundaries as your client fully commits to working with you. Some of these might include responsiveness, timeliness, communication, and more. Clients shouldn’t expect you to respond at all hours of the night, for example. They shouldn’t be blowing up your phone in between sessions either! Get clear on your expectations and boundaries, and this will help keep the relationship valuable and fulfilling for both parties involved.
Improve Your Work-Life Balance
You can improve your work-life balance by dialing in on your time management skills. Set “office hours” and complete the most important tasks first, that way you can continue to build upon that success all throughout the day.
Make your workspace work for you! Whether you have an office in and/or out of your home, this space should be functional and clear of clutter or distractions. This might include getting a comfortable chair, appropriate lighting, an ergonomic keyboard, and more!
Consider investing in time management tools. There are tons of time-tracking tools out there to help you understand how long various tasks take. Understanding how your time is utilized will allow you to plan more productive days ahead!
Keep A “Glass Half Full” Mindset
View negative feedback and other challenges as an opportunity for you to improve. Rather than looking at things as a failure, think of them as feedback. This feedback shows you what has worked vs what hasn’t worked. If your discovery calls haven’t been ending in a sale, for example, you may want to simply re-evaluate your process! When something doesn’t go the way you wanted it to, get curious and ask questions to figure out why it happened and what you can do to manage it.
Regularly Practice Self-Care
Rest on the regular. Have your own ways of unwinding and de-stressing. Don’t just stay in fight-or-flight mode 24/7. Give your nervous system some rest and allow your body to truly rest and recover. This can be as simple as reading a book, taking a walk, practicing yoga or meditation, or enjoying a movie night with your friends and family.
Listen to your body. Don’t ignore what your body may be trying to tell you! If you experience headaches at a certain time each day, don’t try to power through them. Adjust your schedule so you don’t have to do mentally-exhausting tasks during that time frame! If you notice yourself skipping meals at certain times of the day, especially when things tend to get busy for you, consider setting an alarm as a reminder to eat.
Don’t isolate yourself. One of the fastest ways to burn yourself out as a dietitian nutrition coach is by trying to figure everything out by yourself. Find and join a community that uplifts and supports you! As nutrition coaches it’s important to stick together and help each other out if possible. Even the most elite athletes in the world have their own team and their own set of coaches.
Stay nourished. Eat well and stay active! As a dietitian nutrition coach, I don’t think I need to dive deep into this one 🙂
The Bottom Line
Approximately half of all workers in the United States have felt burned out at least once. Know that you are not alone! Lifestyle changes can help cope with stress before it potentially progresses to burnout. Maintaining healthy habits such as eating well, staying active, and getting quality sleep is so important. Learning to prioritize, organize, and manage your time is equally important, especially as an RD entrepreneur!
If you’re a dietitian looking to start your own nutrition coaching side hustle or build a thriving 6-figure business, you’ve come to the right place. I’m proud to be a part of the movement of dietitian entrepreneurs who are making more IMPACT and more INCOME! In the Dietitian Nutrition Coaching Certification, we teach our students how to set their dietitian nutrition coaching business up for success so that they can make the IMPACT they desire and the INCOME they deserve.
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