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How Taking a Break from Everyday Stress Will Help Your Career

How Taking a Break from Everyday Stress Will Help Your Career

 
Reducing and controlling your stress
In this article we discuss how important it is to take a break every once in a while, and best practices to help breaks to boost your career
 
Article author: Kerry Watts
      Written by Kerry Watts
       (6-minute read)
Global warming, social media addiction, and high rent levels can be considered as universal experiences. We all know about them. But career and workplace stress is one of the most common -- and least talked about -- experiences.

Whether you're building a business, working in an office, learning a new skill, or filing a college application, stress is always lurking away in the back. For some of us it can be a motivating force, while for others, it could become a reason for poor well-being.

In the race to be productive everyday we often forget to stop for a moment and "breathe". We tend to believe that we deserve a break only when we've earned it.  And in amidst it all, we often miss the signs our body gives when it’s tired, dehydrated, and stressed.

This article will discuss how important it is to take a break every once in a while, and best practices to help boost your career performance.



Understanding Workplace Stress

Whether we love our jobs or just doing it to earn a salary, the fact of being on your toes and multiple stimuli at the workplace can build up stress over time. Working long hours during weekdays and reserving weekends for personal chores doesn’t leave time for self care. And when you are working on building a career, taking a day off can make you feel guilty of not being productive.

If you don’t take a break, you can develop conditions that include hypertension, burnout, anxiety, cardiovascular diseases, and more. This can come in the way of your productivity and career.

Usually, workplace stress comes from the demanding jobs and pressure from outside. And this can escalate even more if the person has limited knowledge on the subject or the ability to handle the challenge.

In order to deal with daily stress, it is important to take some time out to reflect. Connecting with nature, calling a friend, taking a solo trip, having coffee away from the desk, sleeping in or maybe just not doing anything at all can work wonders at improving cognitive function and keeping you motivated.

Studies suggest that the brain works in cycles of 90 minutes. Which means that a short break can help put your brain at ease.

Let's face it, no matter how important you may think your work is, when you indulge in the same activity over and over again, it can get pretty tiresome. And over time, your thoughts can get blurred. You may start to feel like you’re losing your creativity. Which is why frequent breaks are necessary to help you refocus.

Tell-Tale Signs Your Body Needs a Break

Stress will damage your health - both mental and physical! And this doesn't just hold you back from working on your career. It also damages your personal life, self esteem, relationships, and other central aspects of your life.

So here are a few signs to look out for if you've been working too much lately and haven't been taking proper breaks.

1. Poor Work Performance

One of the first signs to look out for is a lack of focus. Even small jobs at work - ones that you can usually handle easily, can even become overwhelming. And, predictably, the best way to deal with this situation is simply to take a break. Even a short break will help you rest and come back with a better perspective.

2. Health Issues

Another very common sign of chronic stress is drop in physical health. When we try to “make it big”, we often prioritize career over everything else. Sometimes even ourselves! Ignoring it for too long can cause physical health issues like poor digestion, insomnia, weakened immune system and migraines.

Apart from physical health, there’s also more risk of mental health problems. These include anxiety, depression, mood swings, and so on.
So, if you’ve been facing physical or mental health problems lately, it might be time to shift your focus and re-prioritize.

3. Lack of Confidence

The success we have in our career depends mainly on the mindset we have. But when we keep neglecting stress and let it harm our physical and mental well-being, it will have major consequences for our self-esteem. If you’ve been feeling low in confidence lately or even feeling dissatisfied with yourself, try taking a moment to reassess.



4. Poor Decision Making

We make many decisions every day. From the moment we wake up to when we go to sleep, everything we do (and don’t do!) is the result of decisions we make. But when we’re stressed and feeling low on energy, it can seem impossible to cope with the smallest of decisions. It can even be what to eat for dinner, or which programs to watch on TV. That’s why it’s essential to take a break from everyday life every so often.

5. Problems in Relationships

While it’s important to work on reducing stress for yourself, it’s just as important to do this for your loved ones. Quite apart from a desire to care for them, untreated stress will spill into relationships. Both professional and personal. And in the long run, this can cause disputes, miscommunication, misunderstanding, and so on.

There are plenty of other signs you may notice. Things like emotional drainage, poor motivation, existential crisis, and loss of creativity. And if you notice any of these signs, maybe it’s time to pause.

Taking Breaks to Deal with Stress

Whether you want to deal with day-to-day problems or something that has built up over time, breaks are a sure-fire solution to avoiding fatigue. We may tend to avoid breaks because of a kind of guilt or shame of not being seen to “do enough”. Don’t look idle! This is counterproductive.

In reality, there are many ways we can take a break and not let it affect our career. It's all about indulging in self-care and wellness. And yes, it’s OK to pamper yourself and show yourself the love you (hopefully) reserve for others. There are many websites like Rest and Digest which use self-care as a means of dealing with our needs. Whether it's finding resources for ways to relax or buying yourself the perfect gift, there’s plenty you can explore to find ways to beat the stress.

So here's how you can make the most of your breaks.

1. Short Term Breaks

Short term breaks are the ones that can help you get immediate relief from stress. A simple example would be “micro breaks” during work times. If you’ve been sitting and working for too long, take a break, just for a couple of minutes. This could involve stretching, exercise, a short walk, or maybe some breathing exercises. These can all help you get rid of stress and improve your focus.



2. Long Term Breaks

Another great way to recharge, if you can, is by taking longer breaks. This allows for a complete regeneration of mind and body. So when you get back to work, you feel more productive and engaged, often looking at everyday routine in a new light.

Any extended break will help you to disconnect. So you could go on a vacation, or take time out to travel a bit. You may even consider taking a sabbatical to find opportunities for personal and professional growth. Or you can just decide to do things that can help you reduce stress.

Conclusion

Breaks are essential if you’re going to manage stress and be able to focus better on your career. The best part is that taking a break is actually very easy! Much easier than you think...
If you want it to work, you must create your own personal break strategy. Schedule your own breaks, activities, and days “for yourself” when you can put your work on hold and just zone out for a bit. You’ll be surprised at how refreshing this is.

You absolutely must recognize the long-term benefits of taking a break in order to detach from high-pressure environments. And the whole process starts with setting clear boundaries and expectations in your work. And then communicating all this to those around you. That’s because when you communicate your needs, everyone understands, and you can make the kind of changes you want.

So, don’t shy away from integrating breaks into your daily life because you'll reap benefits you probably didn’t expect!

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