5 Signs You’re Overworking Yourself

by Laika Deunert

We all know there’s no success without hard work. It’s important to work hard and utilize your hours to maximize your productivity. Those of us who are looking to impress our managers and get that promotion — and a pay raise—  are more than willing to stay at the office longer and take on more work assignments. 

Unfortunately, when we take on more than we can really deal with, it’s easy to neglect our wellbeing. In the end, working too hard wears us out… body and mind.

When we experience burnout, we feel stress symptoms like exhaustion, irritation, anxiety, as well as self-deprecating feelings of failure and ineffectiveness. We stop functioning efficiently, making all the extra time we put into work worthless. Don’t worry. You can avoid the terrible symptoms of work-related burnout. Here are a few signs you may be overworking yourself.

You Feel Exhausted

If you work from home, it can be extremely hard to set boundaries. Working from your personal desk or your kitchen table can mean losing track of time until you’ve worked 10 hours straight. Make your home your happy place again, and take the work stress to a personal hot desk.

It’s no surprise that you’ll begin to feel exhausted when you put in more hours than you should. If you’re spending too much energy that you’re able to take in with rest and food, you’ll tire out. Emotional exhaustion due to work will leave you to feel irritated and even upset at the thought of completing assignments, and even interacting with coworkers.

Have you been feeling sluggish or groggy at work? Limit the hours of the workday by doing what you can during your office hours —not during your commute or in your living room at home. Prioritize your most important assignments, and begin completing them at the start of your day. If you can’t finish everything you set out to do, you can save your less important projects for the next day. Take your hours at home and your weekends to relax! 

You Can’t Sleep

That’s right—as backward as it sounds, working too hard can actually prevent you from a good night’s rest. Taking on such a heavy workload can be very overstimulating. When you get to bed after a highly eventful day, you might find yourself staring at your ceiling while your brain tries to process all that you’ve done. Taking on too much on a daily basis can also cause future-oriented anxiety about the tasks you need to complete on your next workday. 
Getting a good night’s rest is sometimes easier said than done. You can ask your doctor for a prescription sleep aid like Ambien or Lunesta, but they often come with side effects like dizziness, daytime drowsiness, the possibility of memory loss, and even risk of addiction. There are a number of ways you can tire yourself out. If you want to get our 8 hours, stay away from your TV and phone and try meditation to help empty your mind, and relax your thoughts. Stay away from caffeine in the evening, and stick to more calming drinks like room-temperature water, and caffeine-free teas.

You Keep Getting Sick

Exerting yourself can wear your body out, effectively compromising your immune system. If you don’t give yourself the opportunity to rest and unwind, you’ll definitely find yourself fighting more colds. Burnout stress also has symptoms of its own. When we are burned out, our bodies secrete stress hormones like cortisol, leading us to feel anxiety symptoms like headaches, chest pains, and an upset stomach. Cortisol also suppresses the immune system.

Rest will help the body recoup from cold and anxiety symptoms. It’s also important to make sure that you’re getting your daily recommended serving of nutrients like Vitamins C and D. In order to do this, you should be having three healthy meals a day —so don’t skip your lunch break.

You’re Irritable

There’s no doubt that working too much can have a serious effect on your mood. Irritability and feelings of hopelessness are symptoms of mood disorders like depression and anxiety. Taking on more than you should create these feelings. You will begin to associate your workplace with negative feelings, and your coworkers will probably begin to associate their negative feelings with you. 
Even at your dream job, there are rough patches. It’s extremely important to find other things in your life — hobbies, groups, activities with loved ones — that you can relax with, and find a sense of fulfillment from. Make time at least a few times a week for a fun or relaxing activity. Being part of a sports team, creative group, or even a volunteer service can be something you can look forward to during your workday.

You’re Starting to Feel Alone

When you’re working too much, it’s easy to have a hard time creating a decent work-life balance. Putting in too many extra hours at the office can cause relationships to deteriorate. Before you know it, you’ll have missed countless invites from friends and family to catch up, celebrate events, or go out to try new restaurants. Then, after all those times you said no, you stop getting the invites at all.

It’s okay to consider your career important. But socializing doesn’t have to be a work distraction —it’s therapeutic. It’s an opportunity to vent your stress with a person who knows how you feel. Remember, work is much more manageable when you know you’re not alone in your struggle.
If you’re worried about feeling isolated at work, it may be a good idea to seek out an open-concept space. Unlike a stuffy cubicle, an open office space can promote better socialization and relationship-building between you and your coworkers.

It’s important to listen to the red flags that your body is giving you. If you feel any of these symptoms, it may be time to open up your calendar and start scheduling some time for yourself.

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