In my life, I've met a lot of people who were smart, hard-working, and destined for success. However, one of the best, most intelligent people I know is no longer capable of holding a job. The reason why is because he had a nervous meltdown due to overwork while he was in school, and he ended up snapping.
I had never met someone quite like Archer. (That's not his real name.) He was a quiet, nerdy kid who literally did nothing but read, sleep, and study. Though it was the early 2000s, Archer did all his work on a computer from the 1970s—and actually programmed on it, too. It didn't take a rocket scientist to realize he was unusual.
But, that's all he ever did. Work, work, work. Study, study, study. Then, one day, after two of his roommates were arguing, something changed. Immediately after, all he'd do is scowl at people. We figured he was annoyed due to the noise during his (24/7) study hours.
Honestly, we kinda realized something was wrong when he stopped speaking and started watering a tray of food he brought to his dorm for about a week or so. We figured it was for an experiment, but, no, it wasn't.
He was literally just watering a pile of rotting food for weeks and would scream at people for going near it to throw it away. That wasn't normal Archer behavior from what we've seen.
It was when he just randomly disappeared leaving the school staff to deal with a mold monster he grew that we ascertained that he probably wasn't well and was probably forcibly removed from class.
This kid, had he paid attention to signs that he needed a break, would probably have been the CEO of a Fortune 500 company by now. Burnout can and will happen, even if it's not as drastic as Archer's.
Avoiding that kind of collapse is easy; just take a break whenever you notice serious signs you need a vacation—such as the ones below.
You find yourself reaching for a glass of wine more often every day.
There's a reason why overwork and stress tend to be coupled up with alcohol abuse. When you're overworked to the point that your normal coping mechanisms are no longer enough, it's common to end up drinking or using pills as a band-aid.
However, there's a catch. Party-hardy people who drink regularly already probably aren't using this to blow off all the extra steam. It could just be the lifestyle they enjoy.
On the other hand, if you're not usually a drinker and you find yourself regularly reaching for vodka after work, you're seeing signs you need a vacation in every shot you drink.
People have remarked that you've gotten snappy and irritable—especially during or after work.
Stress always has a way of showing itself, especially when it comes to talking to other people. That's why many of the signs you need a vacation tend to involve the way you end up treating others.
When you're really overworked and stressed out, you'll often get meaner, more irritable, and angrier with people around you. If you're typically a calm person, and you find yourself barking at others, it's a sign that you need to take a step back and relax a bit.
That being said, this also is a more pressing sign than just a need for vacation. If you notice that you legitimately dread going to work, then it's also a sign you need to quit your job.
You feel disconnected from your loved ones and friends.
Overworked people tend to end up feeling consumed by work—and that often makes it hard to keep friendships alive. If you're having trouble actually connecting and relaxing with those you care about at the end of the week, you should be concerned.
People, not jobs, are what make life worth living. Not being connected to people is a serious cause of depression, anxiety, and other issues. It's one of the top reasons why family stress impacts your health.
That's why this is considered to be one of the most alarming signs you need a vacation, and why it's a clear message that you may need to take a break and reconnect with your family—if only to help yourself avoid depression.
People have expressed concern for your well-being at work.
If you think other people don't notice when an employee looks seriously overworked, you're wrong. Most of the time, people will quickly pick up when you're on the verge of going nuts due to too much work or too much stress-related to work.
When other people are picking up on signs you need a vacation, it's time to stop what you're doing and take a break. Even if it's something as simple as a "staycation" at home doing nothing but watching Jerry Springer and eating Taco Bell, you need to do something to unwind. Otherwise, you may end up losing your job.
Actually, you've been noticing that your productivity has been dying down.
One of the most common signs you need a vacation, particularly if you're really into your work, is when your productivity starts to slump. Does it take you longer and longer to do the same things you used to do relatively quickly? Are you having a hard time focusing on a task?
If you're finding it harder to focus, harder to get things done, or just difficult to keep up your normal pace, your body and mind are subconsciously asking for a break. It may be a good idea to listen to it and take a vacation.
You've been feeling under the weather pretty frequently.
Most people do not realize that stress has both physical and mental side effects. The most common physical sign of stress isn't just the standard "fatigue" you feel, but the way that your immune system reacts.
Long periods of stress tend to cause a person's immune system to weaken, which in turn makes you very likely to get sick. So, yes, all those sniffles and sneezes may be a sign that your chronic stress is catching up to you—and that you may be long overdue for that dream vacation you want.
The indulgences you used to enjoy no longer work.
A carb-filled dinner used to be your panacea. Now, it's just making you feel bloated and angry. A mani-pedi was your home away from home, now, it just sucks time. Sound familiar?
At this point, your impending burnout is starting to show in the form of depression and anhedonia. Anhedonia, also known as the sudden lack of joy in things that once made you happy, is one of the most distressing signs you need a vacation—or that you may need to talk to a professional.
You can't remember the last time you actually relaxed.
Yeah, that's one of the most obvious signs you need a vacation, wouldn't you think? Even Post Malone mentioned it in his song, "Congratulations." That being said, it's not necessarily a good thing to be able to say this—so keep that in mind.
That being said, working hard does have rewards, but you have to make sure you're working for the right reasons. Even so, you still need to take a break once in a while.
Your scale is showing different numbers than normal.
When a person is well-rested, their weight is generally stable. People who are very stressed, on the other hand, will see the scales tip in one way or another—often quite drastically, too.
If you find yourself overeating or forgoing your normal diet routine, you might be in need of a vacation pretty badly. At this point, your stress has decided to externalize in a way that's affecting your physical health as well as your ability to handle your own lifestyle.
At least this gives you a good excuse to go chill somewhere nice. Who would have thought that simply relaxing could help you avoid weight gain, right?
You're tossing and turning at night.
Last but not least, one of the most obvious signs you need a vacation is a constant battle when it comes to getting sleep. People who have a hard time sleeping often do because they're stressed—most often, about work.
Chances are high that if you can't get better sleep using normal techniques, it may be time to go on a cruise or hit up your local travel agent for a deal. You might find yourself feeling more well-rested and more well-adjusted once you come back home.