12 Warning Signs that You Need to Take a Break from Work

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We’ve all experienced the feel-good benefits a vacation bestows on us. So why are so few of us taking our full entitlement?

Business Optimizer takes a look at the warning signs that can signal you need to take a break.

If you are experiencing any of these warning signs, it essential that you make time to schedule a break from work – whether just a long weekend or full-scale relaxation on a fortnight vacation.

#1. Feeling depleted

If work is leaving you feeling exhausted, so all you want to do is crawl into bed when you get home, this can be a sign of stress. It’s just not healthy to have nothing in your life but work. Time to get some balance – and the best way to kick-start work-life balance is with a break; get some perspective on what is really important to you.

#2. Lack of enthusiasm

When we are stressed our moods can dip significantly, leaving us with little energy for the things that once made us happy. If you’re struggling to find your motivation, this can be a sign you’re ready for a break from work. A break should help you return refreshed and re-motivated.

#3. Poor sleep

It is very common to experience sleep disturbances as a result of stress. Getting a full seven hours of sleep each night is vital for our health and well-being.

If you’re left tossing and turning through the night, it’s time to schedule a break from routine – preferably one filled with lots of physical activity and fresh air so you can refresh your mind and get your circadian rhythm back on track.

#4. Health warning signs

Stress and overwork have some worrying effects on our health, as well as our circadian rhythms. Warning signals include more frequent headaches, general aches and pains, gastrointestinal problems, and a raised resting heart rate – which can lead to more serious problems, including heart disease and stroke.

#5. Careless mistakes

Tiredness and stress can lead to poor performance that’s got nothing to do with your natural ability to do your job.

If you find yourself making frequent mistakes or finding it hard to concentrate, schedule a decent break immediately – not only for your own health and wellbeing but for that of your co-workers too.

If your work involves driving, operating heavy machinery or critical systems, putting off taking a break when you need one can have even greater repercussions. Don’t ignore the warning signs.

#6. Feelings of resentment towards your job and co-workers

When you notice feelings of being misunderstood and underappreciated and hear yourself venting about your job and co-workers to anyone who will listen, it’s time to step away and get some perspective.

Stress or tiredness can affect your ability to cope; when it starts to creep into your behavior towards others, you are putting your relationships, and career at risk.

Just a short break can give you the space you need to come back reinvigorated and better able to handle things.

#7. Fantasies about quitting your job

Of course, it’s natural to have future plans, but if you are spending hours dreaming about handing in your notice for a job you once loved and without any plans about what you’re going to do next, you should take it as a warning sign.

Be honest with yourself: is there really no future in this role for you or is it a short-term issue of being rundown and finding it difficult to cope?

Either way, scheduling a break is a great way to give yourself space and time to make this critical decision with a clear head.

#8. Feeling overwhelmed

Work stress can quickly destroy your usual can-do attitude and sense of humor. When tasks, problems, and events you’d usually take in your stride suddenly start feeling like insurmountable problems, it’s another warning sign you need a break from work.

#9. Co-workers walking on eggshells

Have you noticed a change in your relationship with fellow co-workers? If people are hesitant to approach or reticent to include you in decision-making, it could be a warning sign it is time to take a break.

#10. Making unhealthy choices to cope with stress

In times of stress, it can be all too easy to skip your regular gym visits or reach for that glass of wine as you get through the door – all signs you need to give yourself a break. Act before your unhealthy choices can become a bad habit.

#11. Your personal life is suffering

Whether because of your incessant venting about your job – with family, friends and loved ones right in the firing line; or because you are so wrapped up with work, or depleted from work stress that you are just not making time to do the things you enjoy.

The waning health of your personal relationships can be a serious indicator that all is not right, and it’s time to take a break from work.