When we're passionate about what we do for a living, work can sometimes get the better of us, but watch out for the tell-tale signs you may be working too hard. Some of us work to live, whilst others live to work. There are those who get the balance just right, but there are often times when work can overwhelm us, even without us knowing. In a society with so many pressures and economic downturns at every corner, we sometimes overburden ourselves. So in the interests of restoring the balance between work and life, here are some signs you may be working too hard and some tips to help you change for the better.
1. No-One Sees You Anymore
If your friends start saying they no longer see you, it could be one of the signs you may be working too hard. Maintaining social contact is very important for your sanity as we're hard-wired to socialise and to develop and maintain bonds with our fellow Homo Sapiens. Making time for friends and family can help us keep things in perspective so be sure to make time for your nearest and dearest as it's also a wonderful de-stressor.
2. Weight Loss
Sometimes, stress can lead to weight loss. Before you start studying and training for the most stressful career imaginable in the hope of shifting the pounds, it's not always a good thing. Sometimes work can just become so overwhelming that you don't have time to eat and this isn't good for you. Rapid weight loss could lead to weaker immunity and a whole host of other health problems. So remember to stay healthy at work by keeping some healthy snacks at your desk like fruit, nuts and seeds. I can never understand when people say they forgot to eat or they didn't have time, but that may be because I LOVE food and look forward to having some me-meal time!
3. Sleepless Nights
This is a common sign that work may be getting the better of you. Sleep is vital for so many reasons and it's the quality of sleep which is important too. If you're spending most of the night tossing and turning because you're worried about work, then your productivity at work the next day may suffer. Make a list of all the things you need to do and 'put it to bed' before YOU go to bed. Do something relaxing before bedtime like meditating or listening to some soothing music in a hot bath and DON'T check emails. This is something I have stopped myself doing as there may be an email which will either annoy you or stress you out even more and which could then prevent you from sleeping soundly.
4. Lunch Break
Not making time for lunch breaks is one of the classic signs you may be working too hard. It's important to have a lunch break. Take a walk and clear your head and you'll soon see that another world exists out there. Get some fresh air and if you can, meet someone for a coffee or a bite to eat. Take a walk in the park if there is one near you as being close to nature can be a great tonic for the soul. Remind yourself that it's not all work work work. Remember, all work and no lunch break makes (insert your name here) an irritable, tired and less productive gal!
5. Lack of Concentration
If you find yourself drifting off in meetings or in the middle of tasks, it may be because you're overworked. Whilst sitting in meetings, I have often seen people draw fabulous masterpieces which Michaelangelo would have been proud of, but it's often a sign that the brain has taken all it can take and that you need to step back and unwind. Of course, it may also be that the meeting is incredibly boring in which case distract yourself to your heart's content and just pray that they don't ask you a question in the middle of it!
If you find yourself snapping at others, whether it be family or friends, it could be a sign you're overwhelmed in your professional life. It's only natural to take it out on the ones you love the most and they will understand but they don't deserve it. Speak to your loved ones if you're a little snowed under and tell them that you're having a stressful time at work. They may be able to offer some help and advice which could help alleviate the strain.
7. A Change in You
If someone says to you, "you haven't been yourself this week" it can be a signal that you're exhibiting signs of stress. The people around you will be able to notice things that you don't, and your body language and facial expressions can be a real giveaway. Listen to those around you who often just want to offer help and support.
It's important to find something you love doing in life and do your best to achieve and to succeed, but it's also important to remember to look after yourself in the process. What kinds of things do you do to alleviate the stresses and strains of work?