How Much Stress is Too Much? Knowing When to Stop and Take a Break

May 12, 20172:13 pm2776 views

Are you feeling drained from your daily routine? Have you been skipping breakfast and staying late at the office? Are you taking more than you can take and feeling overworked? Are you going to bed with a stressful mind over the ongoing project you’re working on? If you find yourself nodding affirmatively, chances are, you really need some time off.

At some point of time in life, we need to take a break from everything and rejuvenate our soul. Dedicating all your time and energy to be productive at work is a great sign that you’re taking your work seriously. But if you keep the daily grind without taking some rest, it is only a matter of time that this will grind you down instead.

While most people realise that occasional break from work is fundamental for mental health, but they don’t realise how badly they need to stop and take a break until it’s too late. Forgetting relaxation and vacation time is dangerous. Not only will it lead to fatigue and exhaustion, overworking affects your efficiency and work quality, too.

Rather than letting your stamina and motivation plummet from severe burnout (and thus cause prolonged serious health issues), it is best to take a break and refresh yourself. So how do you know that you should shut down your PC and take that PTO this summer?

See: Time to Hit the Town: How to Set up a Vacation Policy?

Here are some signs to tell:

  1.    You feel tired all the time. When you are working for too long without a break, this will affect your physical condition, even if you’re unaware of it. If you wake up in the morning with a beat feeling, or walk into your cubicle with a haze of exhaustion, maybe you need some rest soon.
  2.    You’re easily irritated over trivial things. When your stress levels are piling up, even smallest things and actions can easily pester you. If you start the day with a tantrum even before getting to the real task, then it is obvious that you should sign off from work for a while.
  3.    You make small (but constant) mistakes. When you force your brain to work too much, it won’t function as well as the way it’s supposed to. As consequence, you can easily fall for small but constant mistakes such as making typos in your report or misspelling a daily review. Before turning these small errors into bigger (and serious) ones, it is time to take a break.
  4.    You have no social life. When was the last time you attended a family gathering, or joined your friends for occasional get-together? If you cannot even recall the last time you’re having dinner with your family, then taking PTO and spending more time with them should be on your agenda.
  5.    You’re not motivated. When you’re motivated about showing up at work and feeling good about it, you will work hard to meet the goals. However, if recently you feel that your motivation is at an all-time low, then perhaps you need some time off to get back the enthusiasm and regain your spirit.
  6.    You spend weekends working. When you lose all the hype over weekend and treat Saturday just like Monday, then maybe something is wrong with you. Be it checking your work emails or answering business chats while watching TV with your family, it seems that that you cannot disconnect yourself from work even at home. If this sounds just like you, make sure to go to the HR department and request some days off.
  7.    You take too much coffee. When your walk in your favourite coffee shop and order at least three shots of espresso all the time, be careful. If you feel the need to always stay awake and toil on that big project relentlessly, sooner or later you will eventually hit the wall and get burnout. Before this happens, you should step back and slow down your pace.

How many numbers represent your current condition? If you check more than one of the above listed items, then you should not hesitate to sign off from work and spend time alone.

Work is a never ending cycle. While showing up at work everyday is important, taking occasional break is no less vital either. Therefore, take that much deserved vacation you really need to rejuvenate your mind and body, and come back to work with better zest.

Read also: Millennials and Boomers Favour More Vacation, Gen X Wants Richer Retirement Benefits

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