Being a solo founder comes with it's share of merits and demerits. One demerit is multitasking. I recently started feeling burned out after 4 months of continuous work.
Any tips to unwind will be helpful.
Have a partner? Start there.
Travel with him/her, just sit back and watch a movie together, do things together.
Heal your soul, replenish your energy.
exercise is the biggest thing. even a consistent walk can really set things straight.
Forcefully bake in times away from anything resembling work, even if it's a few hours a week (for me that's bouldering). Also, consciously set aside time for loved ones.
You only have one life, burnout is not worth it.
That is the biggest thing.
If you're lucky enough to have a group of friends around, go out anytime that they ask for it. Don't be annoyed by their requests just because you are stressed out—go out.
Walk. That's a big one.
And finally, enjoy your work. Don't do it because you have to (even client work), find a mission in it. I'm not talking about your mission statement or stuff like that.
Find a personal reason why you're doing it.
Trust me you'll be tired but never burnt out that way.
Do anything but that.
I can relate. I found myself ignoring the burnout by distracting myself with more work, but eventually the burnout turned into an intense apathy towards work, even my own projects that I'd been so excited about.
I've pretty much spent most of the last 6 months recovering from years of accumulated burnout - not from being a solo founder but just from working with software in general, the intense focus and multitasking that involves, and the politics at work. I was in a vicious cycle of terrible sleep causing my mind to run at 100% CPU and causing terrible sleep. I'm finally just this year giving myself time to relax and take a break between work.
I know it's trite and I hope this doesn't sound preachy, but for me, what worked was mindfulness meditation. I had been doing it for a while - like 5-10 mins a day with minimal benefit - but the big breakthrough only came for me recently when I stopped treating it like just a separate activity, and instead like something I could do all day while doing other things.
It's like that peaceful feeling you get when you're walking through nature, or relaxing on a beach. It turns out you can cultivate that and access it any time - even from an office. It's not inherent to the location or circumstances, but it's more like a state of mind. Of course it's much easier in nature, but it's not necessary. Sounds crazy, but it really works. It does take time and patience though, it doesn't work right away.
Now, I'm doing a bit more work again and I'm finding I can bring a meditative state to my work. Not all the time, but for moments through the day, as I remind myself. I think daily practice is still necessary, but the goal is to bring it to the rest of my day. It's helping me work with more clarity, be more effective with my time, sleep better, and most of all to see much more clearly all the unnecessary thoughts and activities that have been dragging me down.
Thanks IH for the tips. Meditation, exercise and quality family time - I will do more of these.