Hey, Psych2Goers! Have you ever wondered why we need to take breaks? Research shows that taking regular breaks can lead to reduced stress, and improved productivity! Some have shown that they increase vigour for working and decrease levels of exhaustion. From these, we can conclude that a little downtime is extremely important.
However, if you’re one of those people who are diligent and hard-working, you may find it difficult to remember to take breaks. Maybe when you start a project, you just can’t stop! Maybe you simply always want to do your best, and be the bets. If you identify yourself as one of those people you’ve probably noticed that you feel a lot worse when you don’t have respite. However, it can be hard to figure out what symptoms occur when we don’t take regular breaks.
So, here are 7 signs you need a break.
1. You’re losing interest in things that you used to be passionate about.
Do you feel as though you’re losing passion for what you used to love? Are you indulging in your hobbies less and less? Everyone feels a little down sometimes, but if it becomes a pattern, there may be a problem.
Maybe you used to adore painting, but haven’t found the motivation for it lately. Perhaps you were always up to go out on a walk, but now you find you just don’t want to. Perhaps you just don’t see the point in doing things anymore.
These thoughts may make you feel like you’re being lazy, and your self esteem can take a hit. Rest assured, it is not your fault, and you’re not being lazy. You may simply need to take a break.
It’s important to note, however, that if these thoughts and feelings become prevalent, you should speak to someone close to you and perhaps refer yourself to a doctor or other mental health professional.
2. You have become unusually short-tempered.
Perhaps before, you considered yourself the most easy-going person you know – relaxed and calm even in the toughest of situations. But now, you feel as though everything that happens is just another reason to be furious at the world. You find yourself blowing up at others for small trivial things.
Perhaps you seethe and say things you wouldn’t normally. Perhaps you turn that anger in on yourself, and turn to harsh self-criticism, finding fault with everything you have done.
Whatever way you express your anger, a short-tempered nature that was never there before can be extremely confusing, and frankly, a little scary. You shouldn’t worry too much, however – once you relax and take a break you should find yourself returning to your old mellow self.
3. You take everything personally.
It’s natural to be sensitive to criticism – we rarely ever like when our flaws and mistakes are pointed out, even gently. However, if you find yourself taking offense that things that aren’t remotely related to you as a person, there may be a problem.
For example, if someone tells you you’re doing the work wrong in a condescending tone, you may feel a little embarrassed or angry. As long as you can manage these emotions, not let it affect your self perception, and continue on, then there is nothing wrong.
But, if you find yourself hyper-sensitive to any kind of criticism, perceived or otherwise, then you may need to take a look inwards. For example, if you receive an email from a coworker, and you interpret the tone as harsh – even though nowhere in the email suggests that this is a case – you may be taking it personally. This is a very common symptom of burnout, and a clear sign you need to take a break.
4. You constantly overthink.
If you are constantly mulling over things in your head, this may be a cause for concern. Overthinking is generally defined as when you think about or worry about something too intensely or for too long. If you worry over small things, like what someone said to you the other day and whether or not they’re mad at you, or whether an email you sent to a colleague is good enough, or even if your pets love you anymore, then you may be overthinking.
There are a number of small steps you can take to ease your overthinking tendencies – for example, stepping back to objectively observing the situation, meditation and engaging in a healthy amount of distraction.
5. You’re always tired.
This one speaks for itself. Did you used to be a bubbly and energetic person, whizzing around you office and home, juggling every task seamlessly, but now find difficulty in even getting up?
If you’re overworking yourself, you may find that you are absolutely exhausted all the time. Oftentimes, when we take in more work than we can handle, we quickly find ourselves becoming more and more exhausted, unable to finish other tasks. Feeling tired all of the time is a sign you are in dire need of a break.
6. You have started encountering sleep issues.
Even if you were never one to sleep easily, changes in sleep patterns can be big indicators of your physical and mental wellbeing. Maybe you used to be an early riser, but now groan at the thought of opening your eyes in the morning. Maybe you used to sleep like a baby, but now frequently wake up in the night. Perhaps you take longer to drift off now. Whatever it may be, sleep disruption should always be dealt with immediately.
If you find you start sleeping a lot more, or perhaps a lot less, this may be a sign that you need to relax a little, and take a well-deserved break.
Do you recognize these symptoms in yourself? Do you feel you need to take a break? Are there any other signs you’ve noticed? Share them in the comments! As always, thank you for reading, and have a lovely day.