Some of us are married to work. Others of regard a job as nothing more than a paycheck. But either way, being overworked is a real danger to all of us. Even a mere hobby can lead to a mental breakdown. And we like to talk ourselves out of needing a break, but we all need to know that it’s okay to ask for help. …In fact, it’s crucial—as it is said, if you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of anyone else, either. But it can be difficult to know the signs of being overworked. We get so caught up in every-day life the signs slip right through the radar. So how do you know when it’s time to rest?
Here are 6 signs you are overworked and need a break:
1. Failing physical health
You need to listen to what your body is trying to tell you. If you’re overworked and are bottling emotions, you might notice an increase in nausea, fatigue, aches and pains, and headaches. These symptoms especially like to rear their ugly heads first thing in the morning. According to Stephanie Sarkis, Ph.D., the “mind has a great deal of influence over the body, and the chronic stress of burnout can really do a number on your physical health.”
An overworked body is also more susceptible to colds and other illnesses. Stress increases your heart rate and blood pressure. This can lead to immunity issues, which results in catching colds more frequently.
2. You’re starting to make careless mistakes
Being overworked can cause you to make a plethora of mistakes, the kind you haven’t made for years. And rather than being spread out over a week’s time, the mistakes happen all within a matter of minutes.
This likely does not mean that you are a poor worker or that you’re not meant to do the job. If these mistakes are a sudden onslaught, you’re probably overworked and burned out.
3. Your social life has taken a hit
When was the last time you saw friends or visited family? If it’s been a while, you definitely need a break. Many people, on their deathbeds, confess that not spending enough time with friends and family is one of their top regrets. Don’t let that be you.
If you are missing your kids’ soccer games or concerts, friend’s birthdays, and family gatherings, then you are long overdue for a break.
4. Decrease in libido
When you are stressed, the brain ceases to produce enough chemicals responsible for sexual drive. Ironically, sexual activity can reduce stress, but without the drive to do so, you obviously can’t reap the benefits. A good rest can help to set things straight again.
5. Minor changes in plans enrage you
If you are normally a flexible person but find yourself freaking out over a change in meeting time, it’s time to take a deep breath and schedule a day off. Go for a walk on the beach or on a trail—or go out and be with friends, and if you can, try to implement a “no devices” rule.
6. What you used to enjoy is now a bother
Even if you love what you do, it can still feel like a chore. This is a sure sign that you need a break from it. If you feel like you’re chained to the job you once loved, allow the chain to break, just for a day—or longer, if necessary.
If you can’t afford a day or more away, try to fit in smaller breaks. Do something that is just for you—paint, go for a jog, go for a long drive and see where you end up. You will likely return to your job or hobby with a fresh perspective, and will be able to enjoy it once again.