In this economy, it is pretty difficult to secure employment, and when you do, in order to remain employed and rise even higher you may tend to burn the candles at both ends and end up overworking yourself. Most of us work in fast paced, highly charged environments that often demand overtime and weekend hours and our brains tend to stay “always on” and in work mode.
While it is great to be focused on collecting accolades at work and hitting success milestones, sometimes it may be necessary to unplug, take a break and recharge. There is always the subtle fear of being the ‘weakest link’ on a team or being the person who seems to not be able to keep up with the intensity of work. However there has been growing concern about a rise in the epidemic of work related illnesses and mental health conditions.
If you haven’t considered a break, and you don’t know when to, there are some subtle stress signs you probably didn’t notice:
Struggling to focus — At some point, even though you have your tasks lined up, it may seem like you are not making any progress, millions of thoughts are bouncing around your head at the same time and you have no idea how to control them — you are on your desk overwhelmed because you have so much to do, hours go by and you haven’t achieved anything.
Can’t sleep enough or at all — The times when you are dog-tired at the end of the day, but when you are finally ready to sleep, you find yourself staring at the ceiling with your mind racing over a million things. Your attempts to fall asleep may end in 2–3 hours of sleep that leaves you just as tired the next morning.
Thinking about work round the clock — You are out with the boys and you always responding to one mail or the other. You take home unfinished work almost every day, work while eating, you are the boring dinner guest, fall asleep on your laptop, dream about work — you know the drill. Working overtime is great when necessary but you don’t want to be tagged as that person that “carries work on their head”.
Cranky half the time — If you find yourself snapping at anything and being highly irritable you may be dealing poorly with your stress level. Your replies to people are hostile and then you might feel regretful about your tone and the way you handled certain situations.
Other signs — Your body is sore, you are confused and cannot pinpoint any physical symptoms that make you feel the way you do, you are confused easily, you can barely contribute to discussions in the lunch room, you find yourself needing to cool off often, and so on.
How do you avoid stressful work-life?
Seek support — While you may be trying to match up to your responsibilities, endeavor to reach out for help more. Politely ask a colleague to proofread a document or help with a cup of coffee. No man is an island so any little sought after wouldn’t help.
Take charge — Identify stressful situations you are constantly experiencing and address them. Is it a problematic colleague or boss? a complex process? overwhelming task? identify a few things that could change the situation and hopefully one will get better significantly.
Take time off — Take a holiday! Request a few personal days off work in order to come back to work renewed energy. [It’s best you leave your work laptop and mobile phone while you are away on vacation]. Even if you don’t go on holiday, just staying home and getting some rest will make you rejuvenated.
“Nothing is worth more than your health. No deadline, task, promotion, presentation or report is worth more than your well-being.”
Having a healthy work life balance is necessary for development as a person, spending quality time with your loved ones and being more productive at work without feeling burnt out.
Enjoy a healthy work-life balance!
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