You’re going through your day, and you’re focused on getting things done. Little do you know, the big cloud of burnout is creeping up behind you, waiting for the last moment to overtake you. Burnout can lead to some serious problems if not treated in time. Besides the psychological affects and serious fatigue, burnout may strike you so hard that you feel tempted to change your career path altogether. The key to avoiding burnout is learning to recognize that it’s about to rear its ugly head, and giving yourself the time and space you need to prevent it from becoming problematic.
Here are some signs or hints that you may be stressing yourself out from work, and that it may be time to take a break!
When was the last time you went out?
Think about the last time you enjoyed a night out, or even a night at home without work. Remember the concept of having drinks with your friends, eating junk food, and watching a few good movies? If that feels like it was decades ago, you need to fix that. If you’re so wrapped up in work that your life is disappearing, it’s time to take things back for a minute and remember what makes you happy.
You want to throw things
There’s piles of paperwork everywhere, and you want to shove them all into the shredder without a second thought. Everything’s been placed on you, and you’re up to your neck in work. You want to scream. You want to throw your paperweight and your stapler. You’re overwhelmed. You won’t get anything done in that state. You need time to step away from your piles of paperwork and just breathe.
The little stuff is slipping past you
A minor error may not seem like much, but how many minor errors have you been making lately? If you’re multitasking unproductively, bouncing back and forth between heaps of menial things, you’re going to forget to dot a few “I”s and cross a few “T”s. Before it gets any worse and you start making big mistakes, take a step back.
You have a lot more “off days”
You just don’t feel like you today. Sometimes, you can handle John’s banter about his dogs or listen to Sam’s stories about her mother-in-law. But today, you wish everyone would tape their mouths shut. If you get irritable more often that usual, you could be going stir crazy from feeling confined to the office for so long. Get out and see some new faces.
You’re neglecting your health
You’ve put on a few pounds. Maybe your skin is breaking out. You might have noticed your muscles aren’t working as strong as they used to be when you were lifting up a few reams of copy paper. If you don’t have the time to hit the gym or go for a jog, you’re going to regret it later. Work shouldn’t take precedence over your health.
You’ve lost sight of the end
Why are you even bothering with this project? What does it all mean? If you’ve lost motivation and you’re feeling uninspired, it’s because you’ve gone on autopilot. You don’t have the same spark you used to get when you finished a project. Maybe you should devote more time to hobbies you love to break up the tedium of your necessary responsibilities. Take a few days off to work on the painting you’ve always wanted to create, or perfect your favorite sonata on the piano.
Your attention span is gone
Everyone wants to be a creative innovator in the workplace. This usually comes from great observation and attention to detail. That’s the understanding that helps us work outside the box – and you’re not going to have that understanding if you can’t focus on everything. Being confronted with the same tasks over and over is a leech on your creativity. You need to get away from anything and everything that reminds you of work, and come back with a clear head.
Your employer gives you paid vacation for a reason – they expect you’ll need to use it. Though we all feel guilty for it sometimes, we deserve to pamper ourselves. We deserve to sweep all our worries under the rug for a little while and save the business for later.
If you’re feeling any of the above, then do yourself a huge favor and find ways to relax your mind, body and soul before you burnout!