Taking a break is necessary, sometimes it is worth it to take a step back and get some rest. You need to be good to yourself, and going full bore – no matter what your occupation is – it is never any good. I don’t care if you are an airline pilot or a stay at home parent; taking a break can be the best thing for your mental and physical health. Taking a break can help you regain perspective, however not taking a break can lead to stress, burnout and a host of other complications.
When I was in my early twenties, I thought I was 10 foot tall and bulletproof. I went to work for an actor, turned art curator. He had a gallery in Hollywood California, in Key West Florida and his distribution hub was in Cottonwood Arizona – where I lived. He needed someone to ferry his art from Hollywood to Key West and back again. I did my first trip and told myself that I would drive till I got tired. I didn’t get tired and after about three days, I was in Key West: I drove straight through.
I did this several more times, and on my last trip through, I was going through Van Horn Texas – and if you know anything about that area in the early 90s, there is nothing in Van Horn. All of a sudden I saw a highway stack rising above me. I was confused. I had a few more hallucinations after that and I decided to pull over and sleep in the truck. I slept for twelve hours. The point is that I was killing myself because I thought I was indestructible.
We have all had those times when we just needed to get something done. Our minds and our responsibilities will not let us rest, until the project is complete. So there we are, doing whatever it is that we are devoting our attention to, grinding away at the issue.
Our bodies need rest, we need rest from the task at hand, and this rest is important. Your body will start to give you clues when you have pushed too far, you will start to get nauseous, you will develop a headache. But powering through can actually lead to being burned out.
We all need rest from what we are doing; to take a step back. If we don’t, and we are pushing until we get the job done, we can become irritable, we can become apathetic, or you might become easily distracted.
Road Signs to Burnout from Stress.
So your body has been telling you that you are starting to push it a little hard, but you ignore your body, you take an antacid and some ibuprofen and you continue on. Then you get a little snappy with the people at work, and people don’t want to be around you. Someone comes up to you for advice and you dismiss them, because you don’t really care. You start to feel like you don’t really care about anything.
Burnout can resemble depression. You start feeling like you hate what you are doing, you don’t like getting up in the morning. Everything is wrong and nothing goes right. Unfortunately what you used to love, now becomes the object of your hatred.
One of the biggest contributors to burnout is stress. You have a deadline you have to meet, reports that need to be done, clients you need to call; it really doesn’t matter how your stress comes about – it still is stress.. You don’t have to only have stress at your job, that is just one place it can happen: you can have stress at home, on your way to and from work; stress seems unavoidable and for most of us, that happens everyday.
You can’t get away from the stress. However, Stress in this fashion can cause serious problems with your health. High Blood pressure spikes, that means that chronic stress spikes your blood pressure quite frequently. There is also heart disease, liver damage, it has been linked to cancer and then mental disease – such as depression and suicide.
How to overcome stress
All is not lost, but the first thing to do is recognize you are stressed. Even Though that is a great start, it is only the start: Now do something about it.
The first thing is to relax, you need to take care of yourself. Get a pedicure, nothing feels better than sitting in that massage chair, sipping red wine, while someone is making your feet feel fantastic. There are other stress relieving techniques; such as, sitting and listening to soft music – eyes closed and just concentrating on your breathing is a great stress relieving technique.
Get some good sleep. I don’t mean just go to bed, but go to bed ready for sleep. If all you do in your bedroom is sleep, then it will be easier to fall asleep there. Sometimes we mix our bedroom with our living room and even our office. If you have the space, try to separate your work and entertainment space from your sleep space.
Exercise. It has been spoken about for years, that exercise relieves stress. Exercise releases endorphins, which makes our moods better. When we get that runner’s high – it is because endorphins are released into our brain, which is like morphine. You cannot get addicted to endorphins, but you can get addicted to exercise.
We all get stressed, I don’t care who you are. However, stress doesn’t have to ruin our lives or run our lives. Stress needs to be put back in its place. We need to recognize the issue and then take steps to relieve our stress. So take a break – relax – breathe and go for a walk.