6 Signs You Need a Personal Health Day ASAP
Stress, fatigue, and apathy happen at work. They aren’t signs of weakness or ungratefulness. They’re natural side effects of working a demanding job. One Gallup poll found about a third of millennials face constant burnout, but even those who love their job will experience burnout intermittently.
Taking a personal health day can help. No, that doesn’t mean a weekend when you only answer emails. It’s a full weekday when you don’t think about work and do something to revitalize your mental and physical energy.
Here are six signs you need a personal health day and some suggestions for how to enjoy it.
1. Your sleep schedule is a mess
Burnout leads to constant exhaustion. Worse, it interrupts the sleep you need to overcome that exhaustion. You may be getting too little sleep or too much sleep. Either way, your restful hours aren’t sufficient to re-energize your body and mind.
Personal health day suggestion: Relax all day. Enjoy an afternoon nap and then schedule 7-to-9 hours of sleep.
2. You snap at everyone
If you get angry at friends, family, and coworkers over innocuous behavior, that’s a sign you’re stressed. Stress short-circuits our self-control, making it difficult to emotionally regulate. This means things we’d normally let slide can suddenly raise our ire to unsafe levels.
Personal health day suggestion: Restock your reserves by doing something relaxing. Read a book at a café, indulge in a massage, or take the time to cook a delicious meal.
3. Your workflow is insurmountable
Your inbox is flooded with unread emails. Your day-to-day tasks are piling up. You make stupid mistakes, and every deadline jumps out at you like the killer in a horror movie. Sound familiar? Burnout exhausts our mental faculties, making it difficult to plan, focus, and follow through.
Personal health day suggestion: Release that pent-up energy by doing some light exercise. Hike in nature. Go for a jog or bike ride around town.
4. You’ve become detached
You fade out for family time, can’t be bothered to make social plans, and your hobbies no longer hold your attention. Chances are your mind is still at work: Just one more project, one more email, one more follow-up, and then I can relax. It’s time to take a day to disconnect from work and reconnect with life.
Personal health day suggestion: Take a day to reinvest in your relationships and self-affirming projects. Spend time with the kids, call a friend, or focus on your favorite pastime.
5. You lack motivation
After waking up listlessly, you shuffle through the workday in a haze and go home to let The Office wash over your eyeballs for the umpteenth time. Like emotional regulation, motivation is a mental resource that depletes over time. Take a day to refuel your motivational tank.
Personal health day suggestion: Do something completely different. Go on day trip to somewhere new, try a new restaurant, or take a day class in an unfamiliar subject.
6. You are anxious or depressed
Constant anxiety or depression can stem from burnout. Maybe you worry about the job too much, too often. Maybe your work environment has turned negative. Maybe it’s edginess brought on by an important project. Whatever the case, taking a personal health day can help you level out.
Consider any of the above suggestions; however, clinical anxiety and depression are far more severe and may not be solved by a day off. If you think you are suffering from either, seek a professional for help and a proper diagnosis.
Mental health is health
When you are overworked, you’re more likely to get sick. When that happens, what do you do? You take a sick day to recoup. A personal health day is no different.
Burnout is your mind’s way of saying it needs time to recover. If you don’t, you risk making yourself sicker and afflicting others with your poor attitude. If you’re experiencing the signs of burnout, take a personal health day. It’s worth it.