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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Work-Life Balance

19 Signs You Need to Take a Day Off ASAP (or Risk Serious Burnout)

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Regardless of position, industry, or size of paycheck, I highly doubt anyone’s thrilled to go to work every single day—even if you’re generally happy to be at the office. You might love your job, or think your boss is the greatest, or truly believe in your mission, but those feelings won't always be immutable. There are telltale signs that you’re coming upon a breaking point which, if not managed, can lead to burnout.

One day you’re plugging away feeling pretty OK about things, until something small and seemingly insignificant begins to nag at you, and you find yourself unreasonably annoyed and angered.

If it’s a fleeting frustration (again, typical no matter how good you have it), you probably have nothing to worry about. On the other hand, if it lingers, or if every little thing grates at your every nerve, if you struggle to focus on—or, worse, care about—your work, you may be in imminent danger of burnout.

That sounds dramatic, but it’s a real problem. More often than not, once you reach that point, it’s hard to come back from it. So, before it gets worse, you need to handle the situation by giving yourself a recharge. Here are 19 signs you need to take a day off (more if you can swing it).

  1. You consider quitting on the spot at least once a day.

  2. You snap at your co-worker when he asks to borrow a Post-it.

  3. You think about the benefits of breaking your dominant arm.

  4. You push your “in” time as far as possible every single day.

  5. You ignore 50% of your emails.

  6. You have nightly work nightmares.

  7. You’ve emailed the wrong John—not once, not twice, but three times in a week.

  8. You’re seriously thinking about an extended stay with your parents.

  9. You cancel all social plans on account of being exhausted.

  10. Your favorite lunch is a candy bar (with a side of coffee).

  11. You accidentally laugh when your boss asks you to do something.

  12. You’re up to eight cups of coffee a day and still can’t focus.

  13. You send a confidential document to your old manager because you’re on auto-pilot.

  14. You pick fights with your partner every morning, then again at night.

  15. You missed a big deadline.

  16. You put your headphones on at 9 AM and don’t take them off until 6 PM.

  17. You wonder if your job isn’t just a big joke.

  18. You’ve stopped working out.

  19. You have insomnia (when you’re not experiencing work-related nightmares).

If you’re out of vacation days and have no personal days left, and if speaking to your boss or someone in HR isn’t an option, maybe consider a sick day?

Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. And taking one day off is a lot easier than getting to the point when you see no way out without quitting on the spot or taking another job that you’re not all that excited about.

Remember: Part of being successful isn’t just showing up every day, it’s knowing what you need to do to perform at your best. And sometimes what you need to do is stay home.