How To Tell You Need A Vacation By Paying Attention To These 5 Subtle Signs
At the risk of sounding like a whiner, I’ll just come out and say what I know all of you are probably thinking most of the time: Adulting is hard. Figuring out how to tell you need a vacation can honestly be so confusing, especially when you consider how much flack millennials get for being so-called "entitled" or "lazy." I'm willing to bet that, half the time, you probably don't give credit where credit's due, but think about it, friends: Not only did you graduate college with a highly competitive job market to break into, but the cost of living these days is incredibly high, and the majority of your generation is drowning in debt thanks to student loans. It's no wonder you're exhausted, because the grind doesn’t exactly make time for R&R. But, newsflash, you have to, if only for the sake of your mental well-being.
Maybe I’m not the most reliable source to lean on when it comes to figuring out how to know if you actually need a vacation or just a nap, because TBH, I always think I need a vacation. But, seriously, I think you can agree with me here that you and I, and everyone else in the world, could tremendously benefit from taking more time off.
The sad reality is, according to a survey issued by Glassdoor in 2017, only 23 percent of employees take advantage of all of the vacation days their company gives them, and 54 percent of employees use only half of their paid time off. Now, this could very well be because Americans tend to be workaholics, or maybe it’s because you’re living to work, not working to live, and if that's the case, friends, that is just unacceptable. To make sure you're clocking out and taking days off when you need them most, here are a few tell-tale signs that mean you need a vacation ASAP.
1. You're Super Irritable At Work
Desk-mates beware when you're around, because when it's high time to take a vacation, you better believe the proof is going to show in your attitude. It's not that all of a sudden you can't stand Jenny from accounting — she's actually one of your go-to girls — but misery loves company, or so they say. If you're feeling irritable at the office, it's likely to reflect in how you approach your workload, as well as the people you work with, so consider this a sign it's time to check out for a little while.
In an exclusive interview with Elite Daily, Robert Glatter, M.D., an assistant professor of emergency medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital, Northwell Health, explains that, if you sense yourself becoming more irritable by the day at the office, and you're "not having the usual patience with others that you traditionally have, it's a good time to consider that a vacation may be in order."
In other words, if you have nothing nice to say to a co-worker, don't say anything at all. Instead, book yourself a flight to somewhere tropical, sip a mojito, and decompress, babe.
2. Your Work Ethic Is Severely Lacking
To be fair, everyone is bound to experience lulls in their work ethic once in a while. In some instances, you might bored because there's just, honestly, not much work to be done. But let's say you have your hands full with responsibilities, and the drive to get something, anything done, isn't there. This, Dr. Glatter tells Elite Daily, is also a red flag that you need a vacation from your daily vocation ASAP.
"If you sense you don’t have the mental capacity and productivity that typically defines your personality and work ethic," he says, then it’s likely time to take a break. Do yourself a favor: Check in with HR to see how many days of PTO you still have, and take a few (or, you know, all) to collect yourself.
3. You're Losing Sleep
If you dread going to bed because you know for a fact you're just going to be tossing and turning all night long, then Houston, we have a problem. Failing to get a decent amount of shut-eye is going to affect the way you feel at work, so if you're irritable AF, and you can't concentrate as well as you used to, Glatter says taking a vacay is necessary for getting your sleep back on schedule.
"Disturbed sleep patterns are often one of the most common reasons for the appearance of such personality changes [at work]," he tells Elite Daily, so it's important to take a few days off and really pay attention to your sleep cycle. Make the necessary adjustments, like fluffing your pillows, buying a new bed set altogether, lowering the temperature in your room, and establishing a bedtime you can realistically adhere to every night, so you feel refreshed when it's time to go back to the grind.
4. Mopey Co-Workers And Friends Are Rubbing Off On You
When I was getting married, my pastor told my husband and me that our emotions are like boats that keep us afloat. When one person feels crummy, it's as if there's a leak in their boat and they're sinking, but rather than hopping into the water-logged ship (aka taking on the bad mood themselves), it's up to the other person to pull their partner to safety (aka build them back up). In other words, the vibe someone around you gives off is likely to reflect in your own life, so if your work wife or BFF is constantly complaining about how everything sucks, you're bound to feel a bit negative, too.
Dr. Danielle Forshee, LLC, a doctor of psychology and licensed clinical social worker, refers to this as "vicarious trauma," aka a recipe for disaster, and a high sign you need a vacation in every sense of the word. "Vicarious trauma is when you're exposed to other people’s traumatic life experiences or stories," Dr. Forshee tells Elite Daily. "Over time, this makes you feel as if you have been through that trauma." So basically, you end up feeling mentally exhausted because those around you are mentally exhausted. Sounds like a blast — not.
5. You Have Zero Interest In Helping Other People With Their Issues
When you're barely hanging by a thread, impatient doesn't even begin to describe the lack of empathy you have for others. Unfortunately, when you work in an office setting or just have to interact with people in general, there are going to be times when you have to either be a team player and work through the kinks as a group, or let your co-worker or peer vent about her blind date gone entirely wrong.
If you just DGAF, though, Forshee says that's a tell-tale sign you need to check out to figure out what's going on mentally. She recommends "taking quality time to allow your mind a true reprieve from anything that is a task or on your to-do list," which could include things both in your personal and professional life. "[This] will clear your mind, and allow you to focus on being in the present moment," Forshee tells Elite Daily. In other words, schedule a bit of "me" time so you can feel better, and show a little more compassion to others, too — you know, after you get back from your trip.