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.