In this day and age feeling overworked has become the norm for many Americans. The requirement to achieve more and more within a 24 hour period is pushing many individuals to take more on their plate and becoming overworked in hopes of getting ahead of the curve.
Knowing you need a break isn’t always obvious and more often than not, once you figure it out you’re already past the point of a quick recovery and have lost all motivation, enthusiasm, and let’s face it most of your energy for even the smallest tasks.
Recognizing the need to recharge is the first step in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and taking care of yourself. Actually, feeling overworked does more than cause a burn-out. It can lead to long-term health issues if left alone. Including but not limited to:
- Decease in mental health including anxiety and depression
- Menstrual problems
- Sexual dysfunction including loss of sex drive, impotence, and premature ejaculation
- Skin and hair issues including acne and premature hair loss
- Gastrointestinal issues including: GERD, irritable colon, and even ulcerative colitis
To help avoid these long-term issues, it is important to recognize when you are feeling overworked and need to step back, take a break, and recharge. Here are a few helpful tips.
Track Your Resting Heart Rate
Stress will amp up your vitals, pushing your body to work harder, longer. The majority of the time your resting heart rate should have a healthy range of a few heartbeats per minute. When you’re stressed your body requires more oxygen to both body and brain thus increasing your heart rate and blood pressure.
The best way to track your resting heart rate is first thing in the morning. You can either check your own pulse or use a free app (there are many available options on the market.) Keep a log of your heart rate and if you find your heart rate is higher than normal then take initiatives to lower it. You can start by staying hydrated, reduce caffeine intake, and try to get some extra rest throughout the day, followed by a bit of extra sleep that night.
Take A Moment For A Mental Check In
A self-check goes a long way in assisting you to be more aware of what your body needs. The first step is to check your emotions. How are you feeling? How is your day going? Do you feel irritated or sad? Recognizing how you’re feeling is the first step, the next step is pinpointing the reason behind your emotions.
A key indicator that you genuinely need a break is if you find yourself struggling to find an exact reason. While recognizing the cause of negative emotions can help you work through them, not having a valid reason means you’re mentally and probably emotionally exhausted and need to recharge.
Track Your Weight
If you’re finding your weight fluctuating excessively on a day to day basis by 1% or more, then you know something is wrong. Perhaps you forgot to eat and skipped a few meals or just the opposite, you didn’t realize just how much you were eating. Each of these will affect not just your weight but how you feel both physically and mentally.
Eating too much can, of course, lead to weight gain. While not eating enough or being dehydrated can lead to the exasperation of mental stressors which ties in directly to your heart rate and emotional health.
The best way to check for dehydration is to note the color of your urine. A good rule of thumb is the lighter the color, the better hydrated you are. This, of course, doesn’t apply to those who consume a large number of vitamins – which can discolor your urine due to unabsorbed vitamins.
Appropriate hydration levels are not just great in the assistance of nutrient absorption for your physical health, it is good for your mental health as well. Staying hydrated will help in keeping a clear mind and increase energy levels.
Implementing these four tips will be a great start to understanding your body and knowing your limits. Continue to track through both workdays and free days. The key to success in stress reduction is remaining consistent. Just because you’re feeling better, doesn’t mean you should stop monitoring yourself.
If you go on vacation or take some time off, keep tracking. Make note of all the positive changes you are feeling, especially those that can be added to your workweek for a happier and healthier you. In the long-term, you will feel better both mentally and physically without hitting the proverbial brick wall that may require days or even weeks of recovery.