How to Avoid Burnout as a Busy, Fully Booked Practitioner

How to Avoid Burnout as a Busy, Fully Booked Practitioner

Wondering how to avoid burnout when you feel like you’re being pulled in a million directions with no time to take a breather?

The demand for integrative medicine continues to skyrocket both here in the United States and globally.  In fact, the global market is expected to go up by a whopping 215% by 2027! Nowadays, patients are looking for a comprehensive treatment approach to help them to manage chronic diseases and many want natural approaches instead of more prescription medications. 

If you’re a functional medicine practitioner, naturopathic doctor, functional nutritionist, or other health professional, chances are you’re fully booked. This can be a nice problem to have – that is until the burnout creeps in.  

Keeping up with the demand of a full patient load can be exhausting, and it’s easy to get burned out, especially if you are working in the “one session at a time” model where you’re seeing patients in stand-alone sessions without any leveraged services. 

You already know many strategies to help improve your situation and you likely counsel your patients on them – but are you implementing them in your own life?  I talk to so many practitioners who talk a lot about self-care but they are so busy balancing family and work responsibilities that there’s nothing left when it comes to making their own health a top priority.  

Here are some tips to help you avoid burnout and keep your energy levels up.

Avoid Burnout by Getting Enough Sleep

This may seem obvious, but it’s essential to ensure you’re getting enough sleep. When you’re exhausted, it’s harder to focus and stay motivated. Ensure you get at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night.

Nearly a third of Americans don’t get the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep per night. But lack of sleep isn’t just a nuisance – it can have serious consequences for your productivity – and your health (as you know!).

Here are a few tips to help you get more z’s:

✅ Get into a routine and go to bed at the same time every night.

✅ End screen time at least an hour before you start your bedtime routine.

✅ Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bedtime.

✅ Keep your bedroom cool and dark.

✅ Try yoga or meditation before bedtime to relax your mind and body.

You may also find it helpful to write down the next day’s to-do list.  This can help clear your mind and allow you to relax knowing that everything is planned out. 

If you have trouble falling asleep, try listening to relaxing meditations or nature sounds with a Bluetooth sleep mask or a white noise machine.

Avoid Burnout by Preparing Meals Ahead - meal prep, salad, shrimp

Eat Healthy, Balanced Meals – Even When You’re Fully Booked

When you’re busy, it’s easy to let healthy eating fall by the wayside.

As you know, fueling your body with nutritious foods is essential to keeping your energy levels up and avoiding burnout.

Be sure to eat regular, balanced meals throughout the day, and include plenty of lean protein, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats.

And if you find yourself snacking more often than usual, make sure your snacks are healthy too. Some great options include nuts, seeds, fruit, veggie sticks with hummus, or hard-boiled eggs.

If you struggle with finding time to eat, I have a couple of ideas that may be helpful. First, plan your “ideal week” and block out time for grocery shopping, meal prep, and eating.  If you still continue to struggle to find time, consider investing in a quality meal delivery service.  

Take Regular Breaks to Keep Burnout at Bay

When you’re constantly on the go, it’s important to take regular breaks to refuel.

Take a few minutes each day to step away from your work and clear your mind. Do something you enjoy each day! Go for a walk outside, listen to music, or read a book.

If you find yourself “binge-working” you might want to set a timer or a reminder to take a 5-minute break each hour.

Studies show that taking regular breaks can help improve your productivity, creativity, and overall well-being.

Use your break time to do something you enjoy, or try a new hobby to add some variety to your day.

Busy Health Practitioner Walking to Work

Make Time for Exercise

Exercise is a great way to reduce stress and boost your energy levels. But when you’re already stretched thin, it can be hard to find time to squeeze in a workout.

If you can’t make it to the gym, try incorporating some movement into your day-to-day life such as:

👉Take the stairs instead of the elevator

👉Park further away from your destination

👉Try a standing desk (I have one and love it!)

👉Invest in an under-desk elliptical

👉Use a pedometer to track your steps (work your way up to 10,000 steps per day or higher!)

Even a few minutes of exercise can make a big difference in your energy levels and overall well-being.

Make Time for Yourself

In addition to making time for exercise, it’s important to schedule some “me” time into your day. This is time that you can use to do something you enjoy, without any obligations or expectations.

While it might be tempting to work all the time to get more done, it’s essential to take a step back and recharge every once in a while. If you don’t you’re more likely to get burned out. So be sure to schedule some time into your day just for yourself, even if it’s just for a few minutes.

Even if you only have 10 minutes, you can use that time to do something you enjoy, such as reading, listening to music, or taking a bath – it can make a world of difference in your outlook!

Delegate and Build a Team

As your private practice grows, it’s important to delegate tasks and build a team so that you’re not doing everything yourself.

Hire an administrative assistant or virtual assistant to handle scheduling, billing, and other administrative tasks. What’s the next best thing to cloning yourself? Hiring a practitioner (or two!) so that you can serve more clients and expand your reach (without it being all on you).

You may also consider hiring a cleaning service, landscapers, or even just a babysitter for a few hours each week – giving you more free time when you’re away from your desk.

Bottom line?  Outsourcing some of your work can free up some much-needed time and help you avoid burnout.

There are many things a trusted virtual assistant can help you with when it comes to your business such as:

✅ Managing your calendar

✅ Checking emails

✅ Scheduling appointments

✅ Posting on social media

✅ Client onboarding

✅ Email marketing (including newsletters)

✅ Ordering labs

✅ And so much more!

When you hire someone you trust, it can also give you peace of mind knowing that your work is in good hands. And, building a team will help lighten your load and prevent burnout.

Health Practitioner Having an Online Meeting or Consulting with a Client on a Tablet

Create Multiple Streams of Income

When you are only helping people in a 1:1 model, your income is limited by your time. That’s why it’s important to create multiple streams of income in your business by adding at least one leveraged revenue stream. This could be through online courses, products, speaking engagements, or other services.

When you have multiple streams of income, you’ll be able to make money even when you’re not working with clients. This can give you some much-needed breathing room and help you avoid burnout.

If you haven’t implemented the Multiple Streams of Income business model into your practice, now is the time to start!  The first step is to take some time to brainstorm different ways you could bring in additional income, and then take action on one at a time. 

You don’t have to do everything at once, but it’s important to get started so you can start seeing results.

Set Boundaries

In order to avoid burnout, it’s important to set boundaries between work and your personal life. As entrepreneurs, it’s easy to work all the time, but it’s important to set aside time for your personal life as well. One way to do this is by setting regular working hours and sticking to them. This will help you avoid working late into the night or on weekends, which is otherwise easy to do.

It’s also important to take vacations and disconnect from work when you’re on them. This can be difficult if you’re used to working all the time, but it’s important.  If you don’t have a vacation planned, why not grab your calendar and do it now?  Even a “stay-cation” can be a welcomed break! 

If you find it difficult to disconnect from work, try setting some ground rules such as:

👉Don’t check work email when you’re on vacation (or if that’s too 👉difficult, try limiting it to once per day)

👉Don’t work on weekends (or at least give yourself at least one full day off per week)

👉Don’t work after hours (set your finish time and stick to it)

By setting these boundaries, you’ll be more likely to avoid burnout and enjoy your personal life as well.

Set Limits With Your Clients or Patients

We all know that client or patient demands can be endless. And it can be hard to say “no” to a paying client.

That said, it’s important to set limits with your clients or patients to maximize your time management and, of course, to mitigate overwhelm and burnout. This might mean setting (and sticking to) office hours, seeing a certain number of clients per day, or saying no to last-minute appointments. 

It’s also important to communicate your boundaries with your clients or patients. Let them know availability and schedule sessions only within those windows of time.

Now for some tough love…if you find yourself constantly saying yes to everything, it might be time to re-evaluate your priorities.  

Remember, it’s okay to say no to things that aren’t a good fit for you or your business. In fact, I believe that saying “no” opens the door for opportunities that are a perfect fit! 

The bottom line is by setting and keeping your boundaries with clients and patients, you’ll be able to focus on the things that are most important to you.

Final Thoughts About Avoiding Burnout

Burnout is a common problem for entrepreneurs, but it doesn’t have to be.

By following these tips, maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Just remember to take things one step at a time, delegate when you can, and take breaks when you need to. By following these tips, you can avoid burnout and stay healthy both physically and mentally all while growing a business that you love.

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Lesli Bitel, MBA, RDN, LDN, is a sought-after Business Strategist and Mentor specializing in guiding integrative and functional medicine professionals through the complexities of practice building.

Her mission is to unravel the confusion associated with the business side of running a successful private practice. Lesli focuses on real-world marketing and client attraction strategies to seamlessly integrate multiple income streams into the private practice business model, including

  • 1:1 coaching to online courses
  • Group programs
  • Online courses
  • Passive income products
  • Memberships
  • And more

In her work, Lesli draws on her experience running her own 6-figure functional nutrition practice, specializing in helping patients with neurological disorders. She also has a 13-year tenure in the pharmaceutical and diagnostic testing industries, where she excelled in marketing and sales, eventually reaching high-level executive roles.

For over a decade, she has empowered practitioners to overcome business challenges, attract ideal clients, and diversify income streams for thriving practices. Lesli offers private coaching, classes, webinars, and more, dividing her time between Salida, CO, and Lake Geneva, WI.

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