With the last year’s pandemic, the work environment has changed. More people are working from home or working in a hybrid situation. This has led many employees to come to the point of fatigue, feeling overworked, and depression.
The trend for Americans to be overworked is not new. Twenty percent of Americans believe their boss won’t think they work hard if they take lunch breaks, and 13% think their coworkers will judge them for it. Nearly 40% feel not encouraged to take breaks.
These feelings are well-founded, considering nearly 22% of bosses think their staff who typically take lunch breaks are less hardworking than other employees. However, the fact remains that working too much can lead to chronic stress. Chronic stress is not a badge of honor; in fact, it can lead to problems.
Chronic Stress Carries Risk
We are designed to endure short periods of stress, not prolonged exposure to it. However, when the stress response is triggered often, it turns into chronic stress. This is where real health problems start to arise. Chronic stress will make you susceptible to health issues such as stroke, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
Signs It’s Time for a Break
Sometimes it becomes painfully obvious you need some time off, but most of the time there are only subtle clues you need rest. Everyone reacts to stress differently, but some general signs seem to apply to everyone. It may be time to take a staycation or real vacation to get recharged if you are experiencing:
- Poor mood and low motivation
- Easy frustration
- Lack of focus
- Change in eating habits
- Pessimism about work
- Physical problems such as stomachaches, headaches, and getting sick regularly
- Sleep issues
- Lack of socializing
- More frequent use of alcohol or drugs
Unless you are already fully engaged with your work, motivated, and energized, you likely will benefit from a break. It is best to manage your stress before it becomes overwhelming. Mental health days and regular self-care are critical to keep you performing your best. Take breaks regularly before you are in desperate need.
Benefits of Breaks
Remember, you don’t need to take an extended vacation whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed. However, short afternoon or day breaks provide a much-needed respite from the stresses of life. Some of the benefits you will see are:
Living in a state of chronic stress may lead to memory issues and decreased creativity. A break from this can improve your creativity and critical thinking skills.
Taking breaks will help lower your chronic stress, which is a no-brainer. However, the breaks will also help reduce your chances of becoming overwhelmed with your stress.
With a bit of rest, you will be more productive in the workplace and more available for relationships, and you should see a renewed source of energy, allowing you to get back to enjoying life.