Have you ever dreaded a Monday? Have you ever found yourself crying on a Wednesday after a normal day at the office? Of course, you have. We’ve all been there – even if you aren’t willing to admit it. These occasions call for something we don’t often provide ourselves: a break.
There are moments in life that suddenly feeling daunting. Tasks that once felt simple or effortless somehow begin filling you with anxiety and become emotional hurdles the size of Mount Everest. People you love dearly start to feel like a burden.
When we least expect it, aren’t prepared, and lose focus, we lose motivation. We forget what once enabled us to persevere. We lose sight of any goals or standards we once held ourselves to. And, eventually, we break down. But let me let you in on a secret – it happens.
So, what can you do? Here’s a tip: learn to notice the signs of wear and tear before they hit you full-force. Understand the symptoms before the disease of exhaustion fully diminishes your drive.
Here are a few signs you are in desperate need of a break.
1) You’re making mistakes you’ve never made before
Let’s get one thing straight: we are all prone to making mistakes. As we are all acutely aware, as humans, we are not perfect. But we are each gifted with strengths, abilities, and skills; pieces that help compose our soul’s make up.
Are you a people person? Have you found yourself aching for a quiet cubicle after a particularly difficult run-in with a client? This is a sign you’ve hit a rough patch. Are you usually a wiz at editing errors but found you missed quite a few on that last project mock-up? Are you forgetting to add in the right discounts to a client’s bill? Did you forget to bring drinks to table 10 before taking their order last night?
Here’s the thing – it happens. You aren’t perfect. It’s okay to make mistakes. But if you’ve found yourself repeatedly making a mistake in a daily task, it might be time to take a step back and reevaluate your well-being.
2) Concentrating feels more complex than waking up on time
We all lose focus from time to time. But if you find yourself unable to concentrate at all, you just might have a problem. Usually, this is a sign of exhaustion. It’s a sign that you are overworked. It’s confirmation that the overtime you put in this past week was your max.
In one way or another, we all reach this point in time. We reach a level of exertion that prevents us from continuing; a point where our ability to focus starts to feel forced. It may not be something you notice in your work. Instead, you will notice it in the little things – like when you lose focus at the dinner table mid-conversation. Or when you can’t remember your child’s favorite bedtime story.
The point is this: we all get tired. But when you begin losing focus, when concentrating on a daily task feels exhausting, that is when you’ll know you have reached your limit.
3) You can’t stop thinking negatively
We aren’t perfect. Optimism may be a mindset worth pursuing, but to be consistently happy is impossible. And yet, there are moments we find ourselves pushed to the dark side. There are times we can’t help but respond with negativity.
These are the moments that optimism loses. This usually happens when you’ve reached your limit; when you feel exhausted and overwhelmed. This sign shows when you snap at your spouse when asked about something mundane. It shows when you tell a friend, grieving with heartache, that her relationship never meant anything, anyway.
It is in these moments that you need to remember this: you are human.
It’s okay to feel tired. It’s okay to stay in on a Friday night. Eventually, we all reach our own tipping points – moments in life where all signs seem to point downwards. Times we’re too drained to comprehend a positive outcome. This are the moments you should consider taking a step back. Assess your situation. If you can’t view the next 10 steps in front of you with nothing but negativity, take a break. And remember – it’s for your own good.
4) You don’t feel like yourself
This is the most important and most difficult sign to recognize. We all lose ourselves at some point. We forget that though we need that job to live, we aren’t defined by it. Unless you are, in which case – good for you! For most of us, though, that’s not the case. We work for a paycheck. And because of that, we tend to give too much of ourselves to it.
But usually, we forget what makes up who we are at some point in our lives. This is normal. So, when should you be concerned? You should be concerned when you suddenly stop feeling like yourself. You should worry when you suddenly forget what makes you, you.
Like I said – this isn’t an easy sign to recognize or admit to. We tend to prioritize others and daily duties over our own well-being. And while this is normal, it’s also harmful. We can’t lose sight of who we are. When this happens, it’s time to reevaluate. It’s time to reconsider the path you’re currently on. And it might be time to decide if what’s causing you to lose yourself is worth it.
My bet? It probably isn’t.
Are You in Need of a Break?
We define the paths we take. Sure, we can’t control every hurdle, opportunity, or outcome. But our response to these possibilities matters.
Life isn’t always a happy timeline ripe with endeavors worth pursuing and chances worth taking. Sometimes, we fall. Sometimes, we forget the thing that motivated us from the beginning. And sometimes, we find ourselves stuck – tired, uninspired, and lost in chaos.
We start making mistakes. We begin losing focus. We concentrate with a pessimistic mindset and stop feeling like ourselves. But you aren’t alone. You don’t have to be strong all the time. Remember to allow yourself the break you deserve. And know that you aren’t expected to be perfect.