Have you ever looked down at your outfit and seriously tried to remember, “Did I wear this yesterday?”
Then you could probably use a vacation.
We zoom through life, trying to finish one project just so we can start the next one. We run ourselves down. We hurt ourselves. We overwork ourselves, don’t get enough sleep, and don’t take the time to take care of our bodies. Most of us don’t take a break until our bodies give us no choice… i.e. our immune system crashes and we get sick.
Would you rather spend 3 days staying in a nice hotel suite in a new city and exploring, or would you rather spend 3 days sneezing and coughing on your couch? Seems like a pretty clear choice. Here are 5 signs you need to step away from your desk (drill, counter, or whatever you have to step away from at your job) and take a vacation.
You feel like you’re too busy to take one
If the idea of taking a break makes you stress out, chances are you need a break. No one is that important that they can’t take a few days off. If you make an organized plan beforehand, a vacation shouldn’t leave you feeling behind and stressed out when you return. Before my last vacation, I was pulling double duty at the office, covering my workload and a large part of my bosses (who was out of town for a month on a family emergency). My plate was so full, I was nervous to call her and remind her I had a trip planned. When I told her it was too late to cancel she told me, “Don’t you dare.” Because even working double duty, I’m not so important I can’t take a break. And guess what? Nothing exploded and no one died at the office the few days I was gone.
You feel tired all the time
If you are constantly yawning even when you get a full night’s sleep (rare as it may seem to happen) you need to take a break. Mental exhaustion is no joke. When your brain is constantly foggy and you feel like you never get enough rest, you need to take a break. Studies show breaks increase productivity. I remember during college I would spend hours at the library with my friends working on a project. When we’d get to the point we felt brain dead, we’d take a break… Midnight run to Walmart, search every building and vending machine on campus for a particular form of liquid crack/ study fuel (I prefer Rockstars), hit up the drive-thru at the nearest McDonald’s… We would break for an hour or so and come back with our brains reset and a fresh perspective. Once you step away, you give your brain the chance to reset and refresh.
You are extra irritable
Does your coworker’s typing seem louder than usual? Does a wave of annoyance wash over you when your work phone rings? Well, it may be because you need a reset. When you are over-stressed and exhausted it starts to show in your behavior. No one wants to be around a cranky person…especially at work.
You used to love your job but lately dread it
Two months ago you loved your job. You found yourself finding solutions to work problems in your dream. You talked about it at parties. You couldn’t wait to see the end results of certain projects!
And then something happened. Work didn’t necessarily change but your feelings about it did. You find yourself turning your computer off at 4:58 p.m. Every day is just one day closer to the weekend. You hate when someone brings up work or asks you about your job outside of work. (Ugh, I don’t want to talk about it). Sure, sometimes this is a sign that it’s time to make a change, but most of the time it’s just a sign you need to take a vacation. We are human beings; too much of anything can burn you out. I love green smoothies, but I can’t drink the same recipe every day. I love my friends and family, but I need my Thursday night me-time with Shondaland. Even at the best jobs, you can’t be on 24/7/365 or you may go crazy.
If you agree with just one of the above items, chances are you need a break. A real break. Unplugged and unreachable. Step away from the work and towards some relaxation.
I know that a dream vacation may seem like an unattainable goal, but if you don’t have money for a flight you can still take a break from work without breaking the bank. For tips on how to vacation on a low budget, check out my article: How to take a vacation when funds are low.