Contrary to popular belief, taking a break from work isn’t equivalent to wasting time. Instead, it enables you to rewire yourself and improve productivity once you get back to work. Just like breathing is essential for life, taking a break is necessary for mental peace.
Most of us talk about how we want to take a break from our daily routine but never actually take time out for it. Turns out, this only exacerbates workplace stress.
Dr Ballard, head of the APA’s Psychologically Healthy Workplace Program says, “A feeling of burnout really has to do with experiencing chronic stress.” This feeling is often accompanied by numerous mental as well as physical health symptoms. These can impact the basic functioning of daily life.
Studies have shown that taking a break from work is beneficial for you and also your work. Taking micro-breaks in the middle of the workday, such as lunch break or tea break, can be an effective tool to reduce burnout and increase efficacy.
Chronic stress and burnout can drastically impact your work performance. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
“A study by Korpela, Kinnunen, Geurts, de Bloom and Sianoja (2016) found that taking lunchtime breaks and detaching from work increases levels of energy at work and decreases exhaustion. Furthermore, one year later, it was found to increase vigour and increase energy levels over time,” said Ishita Mukerji, senior psychologist at Kaleidoscope, a mental wellness centre.
Hence, you can probably figure out just how important it is to take a small break to work better.
Here are 10 signs that point out to the fact that you’re in need of a break from work
- Exhaustion: The constant feeling of being tired is one of the most common signs of burnout.
- Lack of motivation: When your favourite things stop exciting you, it indicates that you’re losing motivation.
- Negative emotions: If you’ve been feeling negative emotions such as frustration or irritation, it could signal the onset of burnout.
- Lack of concentration: You must realize that you need a break when it becomes hard for you to focus on work.
- Low work performance: “Sit back and review your own work performance over the past years. You will come to realise that every time you were going through chronic stress, your performance slipped,” says Dr Mukerji.
- Relationship problems: The above-mentioned symptoms are bound to affect your interpersonal skills. They can impact your relationship with your spouse, your children, partner or your colleagues.
- Unhealthy habits: To relieve stress, most people turn towards unhealthy habits like smoking, drinking, or drugs.
- Working even when you’re not at work: Sometimes, you may catch yourself mulling over work at the dinner table, or when trying to catch some sleep. When done often, it can cause chronic stress.
- Low satisfaction: The general feeling of being dissatisfied with work or with life at home is a symptom of burnout.
- Health problems: IBS, Fibromyalgia, migraine, constipation, overweight, diabetes are some health issues that might accompany chronic stress.
Dr Ishita recommends these 10 things which will help you avoid burnouts:
- Take a vacation: Take that long overdue vacation! It will help you relax and let you enjoy the simpler things in life.
- Schedule regular social activities: Catch up with your old friends and relive your childhood days. Have fun and forget about the pressures at work.
- Follow a fitness plan: Exercise is said to increase your happiness levels. So, hit the gym or the park regularly!
- Pursue a hobby: Hobbies always take a back seat when professional life takes hold of us. So, get to the activities you’ve been ignoring.
- Write a manifesto: Take some time and look back at what was it that you wanted from life. Pen it down and draw a map to reach that objective.
- Ask for help: It’s alright to ask for help. You can’t do everything all by yourself. Look around you and you will find yourself surrounded by friends and family who will readily help you out.
- Embrace a morning ritual: Dedicate some time in the morning to yourself and prepare for the day that is planned ahead.
- Take a nap: A power nap does no harm. It clears your thoughts and improves your decision-making abilities.
- Meditate daily: Meditation has always been the biggest stress buster. So, take some time out and meditate.
- Build a great team: At work, build a team you can rely on. A team that has your back will minimise your stress.
So, ladies, don’t forget to take a break.