We all experience short-term stress in our daily lives. This can result in an increased heart rate or butterflies in your stomach. However, when we’re consistently overwhelmed, it can manifest in several ways. By tuning in and recognizing the signs you need a mental health day, you’ll be able to take time off and better manage your stress.
The gut and brain are linked in many ways. When your stomach is in knots, it may mean you’re anxious, but there are many other intestinal disorders related to stress. Conditions, such as gastric ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome, are common among those who experience occupational stress. If you’re having stomach pain or gastrointestinal upset, taking some time off from work maybe help relieve these issues.
Although we may not always make the connection, aches and pains can be a sign that we’re experiencing increased stress. An uptick in headache frequency is one common way our bodies experience pain when we’re burned out. Headaches and stress have a significant correlation. If you’re popping pain relievers more often, take time off to see if it makes a change.
Insomnia can be caused by many things, such as poor sleep hygiene or medications. Stress and anxiety are two other contributing factors to restlessness. If you’re feeling overwhelmed lately, it may be a sign of situational insomnia. Situational insomnia occurs when you don’t get adequate sleep due to a specific set of stressful circumstances. Taking a mental health day may be exactly what you need to sleep soundly again.
Fatigue and exhaustion
Another sign you’re burned out is fatigue. Fatigue isn’t just feeling tired. It’s when you experience relentless exhaustion. If you’re constantly drained and lack energy even after getting a good night’s sleep, you may be experiencing fatigue. Work-related stress can be a contributing factor in feeling fatigued.
A low libido
Another factor in burnout that isn’t nearly talked about enough is loss of libido. While sexual interest naturally ebbs and flows, long term loss of sex drive can be caused by certain medications, disease, lifestyle changes, or fatigue. However, when we suddenly experience sexual dysfunction or loss of sexual arousal, it can also be a sign of chronic stress. This occurs in women more often than men, and interest in sex can all but disappear.
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If you feel like you’re reliving your teenage acne years, it could be a sign that you need to take a mental health day. Acne can be the result of increased oil production or bacteria. but it can also indicate stress. In one study, patients who reported higher stress severity also had an increase in acne severity. Researchers concluded that a main triggering factor for acne is psychological stress.
Lapses in memory
We all forget from time to time, but if you’re experiencing lapses in your memory, it may indicate occupational burnout. An increase in the stress hormone, cortisol, is associated with poor working memory, executive function, and other cognitive abilities. Stress doesn’t just affect how we remember but also how we learn. Taking a mental health day will help you be more productive and think clearer.
Engaging in bad habits
The occasional drink after a long day is okay, but if you continually turn to alcohol, overeating, or smoking, it may be time to take a mental health day. There is a definitive link between an increase in stress and engaging in unhealthy behaviors. It may be that we choose bad over good health practices when stressed because we’re tired. For example, it’s easier to order fast food than cook a meal. We may turn to alcohol because it provides us with temporary relief from burnout. To avoid engaging in bad habits, practicing self-care, such as taking a mental health day, may help relieve some tension.
Getting sick more often
If you’ve noticed you’re catching more colds, burnout may be to blame. Chronic stress negatively affects the immune system. When experiencing extended bouts of stress, your immune system can become less effective at regulating our response to viruses and bacteria. This increases your risk to contract illnesses. Taking time off to recover from stressful situations may help better protect against pathogens.
Ready to quit
Working day after day without frequent breaks can be taxing on your mental health. If work is stressing you out, you may feel discouraged or aggravated. When under periods of extended stress with a lack of control, it is common to become increasingly irritated and frustrated. If you feel these negative emotions, it’s important to take a day off. This will help you reassess the situation, so you don’t make any rash decisions or lose composure in front of co-workers.
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