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8 Signs You Need a Break

8 Signs You Need a Break

“I need a break.”

In two years, I had traveled to over 50 cities. I had practically lived in hotels and airport waiting areas. I barely saw friends and family.

I knew it was time to step away from work. I ended up taking 2 weeks off and felt completely refreshed, re-energized, and newly motivated.

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Over the last 31 years, I’ve always sprinted pretty hard at my projects and it’s helped me find success. For example, I spent 2 years writing 6 books, 21 articles, 18 motivational posts, and 30 editorial pitches before I finally got published in an online major publication. I’ve now been published on Forbes, Fortune, Business Insider, and The Huffington Post.

Along the way, I wish I had recognized the signs though. Looking back, it’s easy to see exactly when I should have taken a break. The signs were so clear.

Here are 8 signs that you need a break.

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1. You’re watching hours and hours of cat videos at the office

Seriously. Maybe it’s cats. Maybe it’s reruns of Breaking Bad. Maybe it’s Justin Bieber videos. The point is, you are no longer focused on your work. What you do seem to care about though, is how to pass the time.

2. You make careless mistakes

When you stop caring, you tend to make careless mistakes. You accidentally drop a coin into the soup mixer at a restaurant (true story). Your emails suddenly contain embarrassing typos. You look like a bewildered deer when you’re asked for your opinion in a meeting. You call a coworker by name — except it’s the wrong name.

3. You’re emotionally overwhelmed

You’re upset, irritated, angry, frustrated, or sad over what would normally be a small issue. This happens to almost everyone. If you find yourself breaking down emotionally, that might be a good time to consider a break. Maybe it means walking outside for 30 minutes. Maybe it means buying a one-way ticket to Hawaii to lay on the beach and bask in the sun. Maybe it means driving to Napa for a wine trip. Take a deep breath, collect yourself, and consider taking a break.

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4. You’re always exhausted

Feeling tired for a day? That’s normal. Feeling tired for an entire month? That’s definitely not normal. Remember to get enough sleep and to take care of yourself. While it’s great to be hyper productive for a short period of time, it’s usually not worth it in the long term. Pace yourself.

5. You dread waking up for work

The alarm goes off and the first thing you think is “I really don’t want to go to work.” You no longer feel inspired by the company mission. You feel like you can’t make an impact anymore. You feel like you’re going through the motions. It’s time for you to step away. Take a moment for yourself. When you remove yourself from the situation, you allow yourself to think more clearly and to get a fresh perspective on what the next step should be.

6. You’re having trouble falling asleep

You have too much on your mind — that next project, that big deadline, that promotion you’ve always wanted, that coworker who seems like they can’t stand you. If you’re starting to lose sleep over work, it’s time to take a break. If you don’t take the break, the lack of sleep will start to hurt your health and your passion, energy, and focus will start to fade.

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7. You’re getting physically sick a lot

If you’re under a lot of stress, not sleeping well, and working crazy amounts of hours, your immune system is probably under a lot of duress and you’ll likely get sick quite often. Don’t let your physical health go sideways — take some time off and go on a break!

8. You’re dreaming of quitting with no plan in place

You’ve romanticized the idea of quitting in your head. You have no back-up plan or next steps in place. It’s a clear sign that you’re simply trying to get away. Instead of making a quick decision with huge implications, it may be best to take a short break to see if that’s what you truly want.

If you’re seeing these signs, take a moment, take a step back, and take a break — you’ll be better for it.

Featured photo credit: Dan Cooper via bit.ly

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Last Updated on December 2, 2019

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

Plato knew that the body and mind are intimately linked. And in the late 1800s, the Mayo brothers, famous physicians, estimated that over half of all hospital beds are filled with people suffering from frustration, anxiety, worry and despair. Causes of worry are everywhere, in our relationships and our jobs, so it’s key we find ways to take charge of the stress.

In his classic book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie offers tools to ditch excessive worrying that help you make a worry-free environment for your private and professional life.

These are the top 10 tips to grab worry by the horns and wrestle it to the ground:

1. Make Your Decision and Never Look Back

Have you ever made a decision in life only to second-guess it afterwards? Of course you have! It’s hard not to wonder whether you’ve done the right thing and whether there might still be time to take another path.

But keep this in mind: you’ve already made your decision, so act decisively on it and dismiss all your anxiety about it.

Don’t stop to hesitate, to reconsider, or to retrace your steps. Once you’ve chosen a course of action, stick to it and never waver.

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2. Live for Today, Package Things up in “Day-Tight Compartments”

You know that feeling: tossing, turning and worrying over something that happened or something that might, well into the wee hours. To avoid this pointless worrying, you need “day-tight compartments”. Much as a ship has different watertight compartments, your own “day-tight” ones are a way to limit your attention to the present day.

The rule is simple: whatever happened in the past or might happen in the future must not intrude upon today. Everything else has to wait its turn for tomorrow’s box or stay stuck in the past.

3. Embrace the Worst-Case Scenario and Strategize to Offset It

If you’re worried about something, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Could you lose your job? Be jailed? Get killed?

Whatever the “worst” might be, it’s probably not so world-ending. You could probably even bounce back from it!

If, for example, you lose your job, you could always find another. Once you accept the worst-case scenario and get thinking about contingency plans, you’ll feel calmer.

4. Put a Lid on Your Worrying

Sometimes we stress endlessly about negative experiences when just walking away from them would serve us far better.

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To make squashing that worry easier, try this strategy, straight from stock traders: it’s called the “stop-loss” order, where shares are bought at a certain price, and then their price development is observed. If things go badly and the share price hits a certain point, they are sold off immediately. This stops the loss from increasing further.

In the same manner, you can put a stop-loss order on things that cause you stress and grief.

5. Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Happiness, That Is

We can’t directly influence how we feel, but we can nudge ourselves to change through how we think and act.

If you’re feeling sad or low, slap a big grin on your face and whistle a chipper tune. You’ll find it impossible to be blue when acting cheerful. But you don’t necessarily need to act outwardly happy; you can simply think happier thoughts instead.

Marcus Aurelius summed it up aptly:

“Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

6. Give for the Joy of Giving

When we perform acts of kindness, we often do so with the expectation of gratitude. But harboring such expectations will probably leave you disappointed.

One person well aware of this fact was the lawyer Samuel Leibowitz. Over the course of his career, Leibowitz saved 78 people from going to the electric chair. Guess how many thanked him? None.

So stop expecting gratitude when you’re kind to someone. Instead, take joy from the act yourself.

7. Dump Envy – Enjoy Being Uniquely You

Your genes are completely unique. Even if someone had the same parents as you, the likelihood of someone identical to you being born is just one in 300,000 billion.

Despite this amazing fact, many of us long to be someone else, thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But living your life this way is pointless. Embrace your uniqueness and get comfortable with who you really are: How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

8. Haters Will Hate — It Just Means You’re Doing It Right

When you’re criticized, it often means you’re accomplishing something noteworthy. In fact, let’s take it a step further and consider this: the more you’re criticized, the more influential and important a person you likely are.

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So the next time somebody talks you down, don’t let it get to you. Take it as a compliment!

9. Chill Out! Learn to Rest Before You Get Tired

Scientists agree that emotions are the most common cause of fatigue. And it works the other way around, too: fatigue produces more worries and negative emotions.

It should be clear, therefore, that you’ve got to relax regularly before you feel tired. Otherwise, worries and fatigue will accumulate on top of each other.

It’s impossible to worry when you are relaxed, and regular rest helps you maintain your ability to work effectively.

10. Get Organized and Enjoy Your Work

There are few greater sources of misery in life than having to work, day in, day out, in a job you despise. It would make sense then that you shouldn’t pick a job you hate, or even just dislike doing.

But say you already have a job. How can you make it more enjoyable and worry-free? One way is to stay organized: a desk full of unanswered mails and memos is sure to breed worries.

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Better yet, rethink about the job you’re doing: What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

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Featured photo credit: Tyler Nix via unsplash.com

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