This past week I got to enjoy some time off with my boyfriend and his family at a rental cottage in Muskoka, Ontario. Originally, I planned on doing work while I was away because I had projects and commissions coming in as they do and didn’t want to turn them away or fall behind.
As a disclaimer, I did end up doing a little bit of work, but I still felt like I got a vacation out of it and I didn’t realize how much I needed that.
Based on what I learned from being off, and from juggling all the things before taking some time off, here are 5 signs I’ve noticed are important to notice and signify it’s time to take some time off.
You’re working all the time
You don’t have a routine anymore, you’re just working all the time, and you feel guilty when you’re not working. I wish we had a sign that said “Danger! Overworking!”. It’s important to shut off and take time away from work. If you notice yourself starting to work more and more hours, or checking your email first thing in the morning and last thing at night, it’s probably time to get away.
You stopped practicing self-care
Your roots are growing out, you haven’t whitened your teeth in weeks, you can’t remember the last time you gave yourself a face mask, all the little self-care things you would do for yourself before seem far in the distance now. This means you’ve prioritized work over your well-being and that, my friend, is a huge no-no. It’s so important to take care of yourself, go to the gym, get some sunshine, read a book, meditate, clean your face. These things bring little bits of joy into your daily life and should be a priority to you to make sure you’re always feeling your best.
Your friends and family are worried about you
They may hesitate to say it straight-up, but they’ve been asking about you, what you’ve been up to, if you’re taking care of yourself. Sometimes we get so caught up in a loop of busy-ness that we don’t see how quickly time is flying around us and it takes an outside perspective to help you see what’s going on.
You haven’t taken a vacation in over 6 months
Now when I say vacation I don’t mean all the luxury-mojitos-by-the-beach, because taking two of those a year can be a little pricey for you, but just taking time away from work. You can even have a stay-cation, but turn your notifications off and don’t do work for a week. You might feel tempted to work if you’re at home though, so if you can get away one way or another, it’s a good idea to.
You feel like your life is speeding up around you and you don’t know how to slow it down
You start to feel like you can’t do things fast enough, like going to the grocery store takes too much time and setting aside time to read a book feels impossible. You end up rushing day in day out and never feel like you can catch a break.
In North American culture, we’ve put a lot of emphasis on the importance of work, but if you look at our neighbours over in Europe for example, who put more emphasis on enjoying day to day life, I think it’s time we change this epidemic. It’s not healthy to work long days and never take time off, your body will start to plead you to slow down by getting sick or unhealthy. Do yourself a favour and take that vacation you’ve been meaning to, or the personal days you never took.
Give yourself a break! You’ll thank yourself for doing so later :)