5 Signs You Need A Break
Published August 23, 2021/Updated March 28, 2022
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What do you do when you need a break? I recently spent a spectacular weekend at the lake with my family.
It was fantastic. We fished, hiked, sat around the campfire, and cooked S’mores. The kids swam, we played UNO, I read, and my husband visited camping neighbors. We enjoyed a nice break from work, home, screens, and all the stress that goes with it. It was just what we needed.
While I was away, I started thinking about a post I had seen a while back on John Chow dot Com. It’s about a self-leveling pool table that Bugatti has made for yachts. They claim it stays perfectly balanced even in rough seas. How cool is that?
And how extraordinary would it be if, no matter what life threw at us, we would stay perfectly level, never upsetting the balance?
Table of Contents
- 5 Signs You Need A Break
- What is work-life balance?
- Why do we need a work-life balance?
- How do we achieve work-life balance?
- How do you recognize when you need a break?
- What can you do to get back on track?
- My experience with burnout.
- What happened next?
- Final Words About Taking a Break
- Please Leave a Comment
Balance is a concept I’m sure most of us struggle with daily. With constant demands on our time, how is one supposed to know what balance looks like? How do we know when we have achieved balance or have been out of balance for too long? Why is it important? What can we do if we are struggling with our work-life balance?
How do we know when we need a break?
Let’s start at the beginning.
What is work-life balance?
The dictionary definition: The amount of time you spend at your job compared to your time with your family and doing things you enjoy.
The better definition is meaningful daily achievement and enjoyment in work, family, friends, and self.
Work-life balance is not about the amount of time spent in each area of your life but more about the quality of the time spent. This will look different for everybody and even on a day-to-day basis.
Why do we need a work-life balance?
Well, there are many reasons one strives to maintain a work-life balance.
A few would be to:
- reduce stress
- enjoy time with the people we love and care about
- participate in activities we enjoy
- reduce the chances of workplace burnout
Work-life balance is about feeling a sense of achievement and enjoyment in all areas of your life.
The best part is deciding what that looks like for you.
How do we achieve work-life balance?
Balance looks different for everyone, and don’t be surprised if it changes day-to-day. Some days you may need to spend more time at work. You may feel you need more time with family or friends, or you need to get away by yourself for a couple of days. None of these choices are better than the other; they are just different depending on what you need at the time. It’s all up to you.
If you lack achievement and enjoyment in any area of your life, that is the area to focus on.
Suggestions for achieving work-life balance:
- take regular breaks from work (this Jay Shetty podcast explains perfectly what that should look like)
- schedule time with loved ones (date night or weekend away, spending holidays together)
- take time for self-care (spa day or a quiet bath with your favorite book, a yoga class)
- spend time with friends (escape room, art exhibits, sports events)
These are just a few suggestions; the sky is the limit when it comes to how you choose to achieve an appropriate work-life balance that works for you. The point is to make sure it is something you are actively doing. Regularly evaluate how you feel about each area of your life and determine if your priorities need to change.
Do not neglect any area for long since that is when our lives will become overwhelming, stressful, and possibly downright miserable.
Don’t wait until you are completely burnt out to take a break.
How do you recognize when you need a break?
Here are 5 signs that will help you recognize if you live with a poor work-life balance and need a break.
- You no longer care about work. Having no desire to finish tasks, engage with co-workers, or meet with clients and even going so far as skipping out on work altogether for no real reason except you don’t want to be there.
- You have no home/work boundaries. You bring work home, work late, or take extra shifts.
- If you are not sleeping well, or at all. Maybe all you want to do is sleep. You probably are not eating well or exercising as much as you usually do. You may even start to show up to work un-showered and disheveled.
- Small things set you off. You may experience anxiety, depression, or even unreasonable anger at trivial things- someone parked in your usual spot. You’re angry. The vending machine is out of your favorite chocolate bar. You’re angry. Co-workers are chatting it up. ANGRY. Feelings of hopelessness, restlessness, dread, or panic attacks may also occur.
- Your health starts to decline. If left unchecked, prolonged periods of stress may also harm your physical health.
Once you recognize that you or someone you know may be experiencing a poor work-life balance, it is vital to correct it as soon as possible.
What can you do to get back on track?
If at all possible, book some time off work. If you can take 1, 2 even 3 weeks off, do it. Take that time to practice some serious self-care. Rest. Get outside, go for walks, take a road trip. Spend time with friends and family.
If you cannot take time off, start by setting clear boundaries. A regular start and finish time and what days you will be working. Stick to this schedule if you have been taking on more than your share of the workload.
Seek help. If you feel your life is entirely out of control, get help from a professional. Your company’s Human Resource department should be able to point you in the right direction. If not, a quick Google search should provide you with a list of local professionals.
The goal is to get back on track before spiraling into full-blown burnout.The World Health Organization is about to embark on the development of evidence-based guidelines on mental well-being in the workplace. Click To Tweet
Read the WHO article here.
My experience with burnout.
My experience happened about 7 years ago. I had no idea what was happening or about to happen. If I had been more aware or educated on work-life balance and burnout, things might have turned out differently.
I would have recognized that I did not have a healthy work-life balance and needed a break. Because I didn’t, my family life suffered, friends suffered, and relationships with co-workers suffered. Still, the one that suffered the most was me. I developed some health issues that still like to give me grief occasionally. My relationships with my husband and kids took a massive hit with lingering consequences. I ended up quitting my job.
It was rough. My employer offered incentives to get me to stay. I refused. I came up with all sorts of reasons why I couldn’t. Except they were all just a cover-up for what was going on.
I was burnt out. Done. Finished.
No one recognized what was happening to me. I passed it off as poor company policies, poor workplace conditions, blah, blah, blah. But not once did I think that I was the problem. I was stressed out, burnt out, and not handling it.
I loved that job.
Looking back, initiating a career change was another telltale sign that I was at the end of my rope. Fortunately, I had already decided to go back to school before I quit but had planned to keep working while attending classes. As fate would have it quitting the current job was a blessing.
But I didn’t know this at the time!
Anyway, I gave my resignation. 3 weeks. The longest 3 weeks ever.
I cried every single day. Then I cried every day for 2 more weeks AFTER I had worked my last day. The emotional turmoil was a testament to just how unwell I was. It wasn’t until about a month after I had worked my last day that I realized what had been going on. It just hit me one day.
I had an epiphany. I now understood what I had been going through with a new and deeper understanding. Now what?
What happened next?
Well, I go to school to train for a career that is very well known for its high burnout rate. Yes, that’s what I did. I trained to become a massage therapist.
Thank goodness I now have the experience to draw on and am vigilant to signs that I need a break. I rarely, very rarely work outside my schedule. I do not work from home, when I am on vacation, or at family gatherings. If you want to book with me, you will call the clinic (or book online) and schedule a time that I have available. It sounds harsh, but it is essential to my well-being. I book time off regularly, and if I feel a bit run down, I will even book a random day in the middle of the week off.
I am so blessed to work with a fantastic group of people who understand that you don’t live to work. In 3 years I haven’t been questioned about taking time off. I can’t even begin to tell you how amazing that is.
I love this work more than the previous job I thought I loved. Isn’t it funny how things work out?
Now that I have also added blogging to the mix, I will have to watch for other signs. My goal is to cut back hours spent at the clinic as my blog takes off. We will have to see what I make happen.
Final Words About Taking a Break
Poor work-life balance, when left unchecked, can have severe and far-reaching consequences. Recognize the signs. Check in with yourself regularly to see if you need to change things up. Get help if needed. Talk to someone.
Take a break.
Take care of yourself.
You are not a self-leveling pool table.
If you think someone may be struggling, reach out. We can all help take care of each other.
Please Leave a Comment
Have you ever suffered from burnout?
What were some of the signs that made you realize you needed a break?
If you have any helpful suggestions, drop them below.
You never know who may come along that needs to hear what you have to share.
SharlaAnn is a blogger who focuses on helping others develop the mindset and skills needed to build successful blogs. She is always up for a challenge and is a determined student of personal development and SEO.
14 thoughts on “5 Signs You Need A Break”
Sure, a good break after a long work increases productivity and balances emotional health. It will help us rejuvenate and set us up for success instead of going more exhaustive and down for a long time.
I’m blessed too to have to work with people who enjoy personal life as much as work. Every weekend, my wife and I would take a long motorbike ride to bag some fun time, but now, as a to-be father (blushing!), I’m not sure what surprises life has for me, but I’m ready to embrace the future no matter what it is.
Life is beautiful, and we must enjoy it as much as we can.
Thanks for this great reminder, SharlaAnn. Have a great day!
Mudassir recently posted…11 tips for choosing a great (blog) domain name
Congratulations Mudassir!! How exciting for you and your wife. You are right, life is beautiful and soon you will get to share it with a new tiny human. Keep enjoying your weekends. Now and after baby comes. They may be different but more important than ever.
It is a blessing to be surrounded by people who share your values. I am so glad you have that in your life. ❤😊
We will all want to see pictures when your new bundle arrives. (only if you want to share of course!)
Wishing your family all the best and not to many sleepless nights.
SharlaAnn Matyjanka recently posted…Blog Like You’re 80 (advice from an older generation)
It’s so important to get that balance of work and life to create a lifestyle that best suits you.
I love working online blogging and digital marketing, and my husband does the same. So we do parallel work and that’s nice because when we want to take a break, we can do it together.
Every day we “take a vacation” in some way… a walk on the beach, exercise, a cup of coffee or whatever.
I like what Mudassir said about “bagging some fun time.”
It’s great you mentioned, too, how taking those breaks is not just about coping with stress. It’s also critical to maintaining good health.
Donna Merrill recently posted…Rapidly set up automated email
I love that every day you “take a vacation”. I think often times we get wrapped up in the idea that a vacation needs to be this grand event that involves time, planning, transportation to get there, hotels etc. and you usually need time to recover when it’s over!
Finding simple ways to enjoy your time and the people around you every day to recharge is crucial.
Of course nothing wrong with “bagging some fun time” occasionally. Sometimes getting away even for a day can be refreshing.
Thanks so much for stopping by.
SharlaAnn Matyjanka recently posted…How 75 Hard Prepared Me For Blogging
Great post and tips. It’s been a while since I took a week or more off. Over 2 years. I used to before the pandemic and moving. With moving, we moved to a resort area but I’ve only taken some days off to enjoy the area.
I need to do more after reading this post for sure. I need to plan a vacation even if a staycation or traveling locally. We have a wedding coming up and maybe I can plan it around that since we are travelling for it 🙂 You have given me some inspiring tips!
It has been hard with the pandemic for people to get away like they use to. Moving during a pandemic was less than ideal I’m sure.
A staycation can be wonderful if done properly. Book a spa day, hit local trails, have lunch someplace you have never been before. I have heard about all kinds of local hidden gems this summer that I would have never known about if people weren’t sticking close to home.
If you are going out of town for a wedding that is the perfect time to take a couple extra days to relax.
A couple years ago I did a solo trip to OKC for a massage conference. Stayed an extra day to visit the skeleton museum and the zoo. It was great!
SharlaAnn Matyjanka recently posted…Backup WordPress in 3 Simple Steps (in cPanel)
Hi SharlaAnn, I just took the weekend off to help my stepdaughter move. It was nice to not turn on the laptop for the 3 days and sleep in as well. I did a few social media shares and such from the phone but that was it. No writing, no other scheduling, etc. I didn’t even think about work much which was a surprise to me. Usually, I’m at 3 am thinking and working away.
I guess I needed that break as well!
Lisa, that is fantastic! To be able to get away from our computers and screens once in a while is so good for us. And it is always nice to spend time with loved ones when we aren’t preoccupied with work things. I am glad you were able to take a few days off.
SharlaAnn Matyjanka recently posted…1 Big Blog Commenting Mistake You Must Fix Now
SharlaAnn, I really like this post. It’s super important and not something everyone admits to dealing with. Your work/life balance can mean the difference between being happy and unhappy, having a good marriage or a difficult marriage, enjoying your life or not enjoying your life.
When you work for yourself as you now do, it can become easier or even harder to achieve a good balance, as you know. It sounds like you’ve made some tough but healthy choices, so congrats! I myself still find myself sometimes working too much in the evenings when I should be relaxing in order to sleep well. That’s probably my biggest work/life balance issue right now and I’m working on fixing it. I’m glad I found this post!
Thank you, Sabina,
Good work/life is important. Unfortunately, many people put themselves in a position where work comes first. They get themselves into a pile of debt, living paycheck to paycheck, and can’t get off the hamster wheel.
My issue now is way too many distractions at home. I also feel that I never get as much done on my blog as I would like because I am still working as well.
Sleep is very important to our well-being and yes we do need time to relax before bed in order to get a good night’s rest. I am glad you are working on fixing that.
SharlaAnn Matyjanka recently posted…Blog Images-What Are You Missing?
Thanks a lot for sharing your story.
While I did not have exactly the same experience of burnout as you did, I did reach a stage in my corporate career where I was spending almost all my awake time working.
I didn’t have a husband or kids then, but it did affect my social and personal life, and it drained me out. I loved working in marketing but didn’t see myself spending the rest of my life climbing the corporate ladder with no time to relax and have a life.
That’s when I switched to digital marketing, working with small businesses. So I could work when I want, and actually help people on a regular basis.
Now of course a toddler and a baby give me no time to relax, hehhe. But no complaints about spending time with them 😉
In the end, we have to remember it’s called work-life balance for a reason.
Life is not just work, no matter how much we love what we do. It includes a whole lot of other things, activities, and people, that all make us who we are.
And it’s important to make time for those things.
Poulomi Basu recently posted…How to Create a Powerful Brand Website for Your Small Business
I am happy that you were able to see the need for a change early on and find a better balance before you had kids. Could you imagine having a young family while trying to climb the corporate ladder? I know people do it but at what expense? I think we are starting to see a shift where parents (moms especially) are finding a healthier balance between raising their children while still working and growing their businesses from home. This is one example where technology has been beneficial.
But like you said, “life is not just work.” So even working from home is a balancing act.
Thanks for sharing, I appreciate it.
Enjoy those babes 🙂
SharlaAnn Matyjanka recently posted…Can’t Write? – 4 Ways You Can Still Be A Productive Blogger
Hi, SharlaAnn , I don’t know if this qualifies but last weekend, I drive to Chicago to visit my father in a care facility. I dd not want to go at first. But after just getting on the road, with my cousin, I found the trip refreshing. Sometimes just the change of sceneries will satisfy the soul.
Absolutely that counts. I find even a day spent doing something we don’t ordinarily do can be refreshing, and just the break we need.
SharlaAnn Matyjanka recently posted…Instagram Tips From a Teen