Too busy to take a holiday?
If you're working hard, feeling stressed and like you need a break, here's what to look for and how you can fix it.
Whether it’s a weekend in Costa del Kerry or a fortnight in Costa del Sol, we all need to re-charge the batteries and tune out of the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
We often forget to maintain work-life balance and fail to recognise the signs of stress.
As Stevan Rolls, Head of Human Resources at Deloitte UK has said, "I think it's mostly just a habit people get into and find it hard to stop.”
What do look for
Finding it hard to motivate yourself to get out of bed in the morning? Do you lie awake at night filled with worry and struggle to get any sleep at all?
Our mind often races when we lay in bed at night as this is typically when we have the most time to process the activities of the day that has been and think about what lies ahead tomorrow.
Likewise, your struggle to get up in the morning may be your body’s way of telling you it needs more rest to gather energy to deal with the stress.
Every person and situation is subjective however, if you are noticing any obvious changes in your sleep patterns which cannot be explained, stress levels may be a factor to consider.
An altered appetite may be a sign that you are overworking yourself, whether you don’t feel hungry or feel other things take priority over leaving the office and grabbing your lunch, you must remember that your body and your mind need food to function.
A loss of appetite is not the only indicator of stress. Some of us may find ourselves overeating or snacking on sweet foods as comfort during stressful times which is equally as harmful for our bodies.
Food is important but make sure it’s nourishing and you’re not running on a false energy source such as sugar.
When your body is under pressure, your immune system is compromised. Poor diet, lack of sleep, long working hours and failure to tune out in the evenings will not do you any favours.
If you are going through a busy work period, and overtime is unavoidable, make sure to take a break during the day, grab a proper lunch and preferably some fresh air, stock up on a tonic or vitamins and make sure to switch off all phones and laptops when you are home and get a good night’s sleep.
Believe it or not, procrastination is more often a sign of anxiety than it is of laziness. We have all heard about the ‘fight or flight’ response by Walter Bradford Cannon; extreme stress can also cause us to freeze in our track, which means you simply don’t know exactly what to do next or where to start.
Take a step back, look at your work load, prioritise, and tackle the most important tasks first. If this does not work, it may be worth sitting down with your manager and reviewing your workload.
If it is out of character for you to be short or snappy with colleagues and friends yet you find yourself coming into work with a short fuse, it may be time to look at your stress levels.
Frustration can build up without us noticing and we become so absorbed in our own problems we are less aware than we may usually be. Keep a cool head, everyone has their own stresses going on, take five minutes of a breather and grab a cup of coffee if you feel the tension building up.
We need to view our career as a marathon rather than a sprint. Feeling guilty about taking time off is natural, especially when there is a high volume of work or we are relatively new to a job. Failure to monitor and manage stress levels can be detrimental to your success so taking that break can mean more than you would think.