As we enter our “adult” years, everyone can agree that there is a notable shift in working v. down time. With being a full-time student and other activities, the scale has definitely tipped heavily towards working time leaving our down time to be a distant memory. I’m not trying to say that being busy is necessarily a bad thing! I, myself, am trying to build my empire by having three jobs going into the new school year. How do I conquer all of this and still keep my sanity? Down days! I definitely prioritize my down time and know when to take a day off in order to keep myself happy and healthy. To avoid crashing from a work overload, look out for these signs that indicate taking a down day.
1.) You Feel Tired
This is one of the most obvious signs that you need to slow down. It’s one thing feeling tired at the end of a big day, but if you start to notice that just being up and about makes you want to go back to bed, it’s time to make an adjustment. Your body is always going to tell you when something is wrong, so start listening to it. One good day of rest is guaranteed to reset yourself and start fresh!
2.) People Tell You You Look Tired
If you refuse to listen to your tired body, it will get to the point where it is visible to others around you! The infamous bags under your eyes and a glazed-over stare into nothing are sure signs that you are exhausted. Like any good friend or co-worker would do, they will ask you if you’re doing okay or just state that you look tired. If it is noticeable to others, take it as a sign to get some sleep and relax!
3.) You Can’t Remember The Last Time You Had A Down Day
If it takes you more than a minute to remember the last time you took it easy, that should be an indicator to take a day off. I know when I’m at a job, I feel bad about taking days off because I want to be present and be a team player- however, taking ONE day off to take care of yourself is not the end of your good work reputation. I get it, work is important, and it is crucial to attend your classes, but you should always come first!
4.) Getting Up In The Morning Is Especially Difficult
Those of you that have never been a morning person might roll your eyes at this one, but it’s true! A healthy and rested body should have almost no difficulty getting up on that first alarm to tackle the day. However, a fatigued body that craves nothing but rest will often hit the snooze button many many times or even just turn it off and go back to sleep. That’s your body fighting to get some more rest! If it’s your fifth day in a row snoozing through your alarms, just take the day off and rest.
5.) You Daydream About Quitting/Dropping Out
I know we all have that fantasy of yelling “I QUIT!” and storming out of the office, but if this is your go-to daydream in class or the office, that’s a problem. If your mind literally cannot escape the negative feeling towards your work, it’s time to take a down day to regroup and figure out your next step. Note: down days don’t always have to be just sleeping all day! Sometimes down days are perfect for regathering yourself and tying up some loose ends. Bottom line, if you dream of quitting constantly, take a breather.
6.) Your Anxiety Is Higher Than Usual
There is no deadline approaching, the exam isn’t until two weeks away, but yet you still constantly feel anxious. When you force your body to go go go all the time, it can take a toll on your mental health, especially when you have taken little time to relax and just be with yourself. Mental health is EXTREMELY important. If you feel it starting to slip, don’t wait for it to escalate and just take it easy for the day. Trust me, it will only get worse if you don’t stop it in its tracks and relax.
7.) You Can’t Focus
Have you ever studied for five hours straight and then feel like your brain has turned to mush? Yeah, that’s a sign that you can’t focus anymore. When you are overworked and focused on many different jobs and tasks, losing your focus can happen because you’re trying to concentrate on so many things! This can make studying miserable and work seem like a drag. Even just taking a five minute break when you can’t seem to focus in allows your mind to reset and refocus.
8.) You Keep Getting Sick
If you can’t figure out why you have had a cold for the past two months, it is probably because you truly haven’t given your body the rest it needs to recover! When you are overworked and stressed, your immune system takes a toll which causes many to catch colds or constantly get headaches. The only way to win back your health is rest and take care of yourself. You might have to miss a day or two of work recovering, but that beats months of feeling awful and under the weather.
9.) You Have A Short Temper
If every little thing seems to set you off lately, you’re probably just tired! We all get cranky when we haven’t had enough sleep, so if you are constantly tired, you are constantly cranky. If you feel your mood start to shift, take immediate action and rest! The last thing you want to do is accidentally be short with your boss or say something uncalled for to your bestie, and we all know the worst excuse for being rude is “I’m tired.”
10.) Your Response To Everything Is “I’m Busy.”
Do you want to grab dinner tonight? Do you have time to talk on the phone later? Wanna hit up that party this weekend? If your immediate response to all of these is “sorry, I’m busy”, changes need to be made! There is nothing wrong with prioritizing school and your work, but if it comes to the point where your social life is suffering, you need to strike a new balance between the two. Making compromises like this can allow you to still get your work done while being able to see your friends and loved ones!
11.) Your To-Do List Seems Endless
Whether it’s cleaning around the house, doing laundry, or responding to emails sent weeks ago, your to-do list never seems to be complete. Going back to what I stated before that down days don’t necessarily have to be sleeping all day, taking a day off to declutter your life can be so beneficial to your overall well being. We all feel good after checking things off our lists, so completing your to-do list will leave you fresh and rejuvenated!
12.) Your Day-To-Day Routine Hasn’t Changed In Months
Sleep, eat, work, repeat. If this pattern is all too similar to your everyday schedule, it might be time to take a break. Being in the same routine over extended periods of time can cause you to lose interest in what you are doing which can stunt your focus. Having an occasional change in scenery can allow you to take a mental break from your work stresses and allow you to literally remove yourself from the situation.
13.) Your Eating Habits Go Bad
Do you only have time to pick up some chicken nuggets from Wendy’s everyday for lunch? Do you love cooking but never seem to have time for it? When our only focus is on our work, other factors such as your eating habits might suffer because of it. Sitting at a desk all day while eating not-so-great food is just going to make you feel sluggish and tired. Take a day off to do some healthy grocery shopping and even meal prep some nutritious meals and snacks for the week. You might be busy, but now you can have the proper fuel!
14.) You Have Work/School Related Nightmares
When even your subconscious cannot escape the horrors of your midterm paper or that presentation that you have to do, that’s a pretty big sign that you need to step back and take a break. You’re already stressed all day, but add being stressed during your peaceful sleeping will do nothing but make it worse. Take a day off to regroup and maybe reprioritize factors in your life to help avoid the office nightmares.
15.) You Over-Complain About Everything
If you notice that every word that comes out of your mouth is a complaint about school/work, it’s time to put on the brakes. Yes, the world isn’t perfect and inconveniences are going to happen that make you frustrated, but once you start complaining about the stuff you usually don’t pay attention to, you need to reassess yourself. Taking a break will put those inconveniences into perspective and make you realize what is really important to fuss over.
If you can relate to these problems, call of work and take the day to yourself!