Startup Founders: Do You Have a Mental Burnout?

The 3 Stages and Signs

Photo by ahmad gunnaivi on Unsplash

The 3 Stages of Mental Burnout as a Startup Founder

You can identify three stages in which the mental burnout might occur: before, during and after an important event (e.g., launch of your product). Let’s look at each one of them separately.

Stage 1: Before an Important Event: The Anxiety Stage (when you start doubting yourself)

The first stage is usually the most critical. It starts with a few doubts in your head about whether you can really pull it off, whether your decisions were right or wrong, and whether you are capable of making the necessary changes to achieve your goals.

You might feel like you have failed in some way or that there is something wrong with you personally.

But there is no need for self-doubt — simply acknowledge the fact that these feelings exist and try to let go of them as fast as possible.

Stage 2: The Self-Doubting Stage (when all kinds of negative thoughts take over)

During an important event (e.g., launch of your product), it can often happen that doubts about your decisions arise again — this time much stronger than before, because we find ourselves in a situation where we have less time and fewer resources than usual. This creates more stress and makes us think even more negatively.

Stage 3: The Depression Stage (when things become too quiet)

After an important event (e.g., launch of your product), we often experience depression because there isn’t much going on anymore and we feel like we are losing momentum and falling behind our competitors who are constantly moving forward at a rapid pace.

So, what can you learn from this?

As a startup founder, you are the head of your team and you need to be in good shape to lead them. You are the one who sets the tone in your company and if things are going wrong in your head, then it could spread to other people too.

How did I manage my mental burnout?

I got through my mental burnout by taking some time off and removing myself from all projects that were in motion at the time (e.g., product development).

What did I learn from my experience?

First of all, I learned that you have to take care of yourself and your mental health. If something is stressing you out too much, it could lead to a burnout! So make sure to find a healthy balance between work and personal life!

Founder of Cudy Technologies (, a full-stack EdTech startup helping teachers and students teach and learn better. I am also a mentor and investor.