All of us have felt overwhelmed at some point in our lives. The stress of home life, work life, social life and anything in between can overwhelm you if not managed well. With this in mind, assess your current situation to establish if you are overworked.
Overworking without enough rest can backfire. High achievers, specifically, are usually passionate about what they do, and they may take exceedingly huge workloads, work for long hours, and put enormous pressure on themselves to be outstanding.
Pushing yourself to reach your fullest potential is commendable. However, you don’t have to do this at the expense of your health. Even if your job comes with individual responsibilities you have to excel at, being overworked is not something you have to live with. Unfortunately, some people rarely see it coming, and they only realize it when it is already too late.
The best way to overcome overworking is to recognize the signs early enough to implement self-care strategies. Here are five signs that you are overworked and what to do to fix the situation.
1) Difficulty focusing and getting more forgetful
Mild forgetfulness and lack of focus are some of the early signs of overworking. Later on, the problem may get worse to the point where you fail to get things done, and everything starts to pile up. Restlessness and high-hung may make you lose focus. To remedy the situation, try these self-help strategies:
- Create a to-do list, and check off completed activities as you go.
- Take short breaks spread throughout the day to help you refuel.
- A simple way to calm down the mind is to try relaxing activities such as listening to music or coloring a book.
2) Having difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
When you are overworked, you may experience changes in your sleep pattern. On one end, you may remain restless throughout the night despite being tired. In the early stages, you may have trouble staying or falling asleep for a night or two in a week. If you fail to address the problem, insomnia may grow into persistent night ordeal.
On the other hand, you may experience excessive sleeping. If you have had those days where you ask yourself “why do I sleep so much?” it is probably because you are overworked. A healthy sleep pattern is necessary for good mental health. If you fail to act, the condition will begin to take a toll on you. To fix the situation, try the following strategies:
Maintain a consistent bedtime routine, which includes going to bed and waking up at specific times. Use an alarm to wake you up by the set time. In the beginning, the process may be a trial and error, so be patient till you find what works best.
To calm the mind, practice a few relaxation exercises before sleeping. These may include yoga, meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation among others.
Avoid taking alcohol or soothing drinks before bed. Certain drinks such as chamomile tea and alcohol can influence your sleep pattern, which may cause sleeplessness.
If any of the above strategies do not restore your usual pattern, consult a doctor.
If you notice fatigue or general weakness, you are probably overworking the body. When you are overworked, your mind is on overdrive, which can feel exhausting. This situation is likely to leave you feeling fatigued. To recover from this situation:
Eat healthy meals to provide the required energy.
Physical exercises may help to tire you so that you sleep better. They are also useful for mental health.
4) Feeling less motivated
No matter how much you love your job, if nothing is getting ahead, the joy starts to fade. When overworked, you may feel less motivated to complete tasks. In such a situation, you are most likely to procrastinate. Besides this, you may also start getting late in delivering your work.
If you are continually missing deadlines and the pressure seems never to let up, you might be overworking. To restore motivation, try these tips:
- Break down large tasks into several mini-tasks.
- Create a plan of action to help you work effectively.
5) Feeling extremely stressed
Stress and anxiety are signs of being overwhelmed. The unhappiness can trickle down to your private life even putting you at odds with family and friends. Remember, no work is worth sacrificing personal relationships.
The following tips may help to restore things:
- Limit intake of alcohol and caffeine.
- Take a break to rewind or rest.
- Request your manager to give you additional time to complete work, especially the tasks that have been stressing you.
- Establish a workable work-life balance. Include your passion and other fun activities.
Other Cross-cutting Strategies for managing burnout
Working at your full potential is essential to excel at everything. However, you also need to know you are not superhuman. Take what is possibly manageable. Despite how your boss may feel, be open about your situation.
If you feel anxious or overwhelmed because you are working outside your job description or working overtime, don’t assume the problem will eventually disappear. Discuss with your boss how you can transition to a standard schedule.
Let Your Health Come First
You are responsible for your health. Sometimes when overworked, you may stop exercising, skip lunches, or sleep for a few hours. This situation is not healthy, and will soon cause burnout.
Regardless of your position at work, create time for exercise, take lunch breaks, and eat healthy meals. Also, avoid sugar and caffeine because they increase anxiety and nervousness.
Take a break
Most organizations offer paid vacations; unfortunately, some people still want to stick to the office for whatever reasons. True, it is essential to show some sense of loyalty to your employer; however, you also need to be loyal to yourself. Take time off to relax, take a trip somewhere, or even rediscover your creativity. Unless you are the chief decision-maker, things will not stop because of your absence.
Being overworked can happen without anyone noticing. It is therefore vital to recognize the tell-tale signs before it is too late. The effects of being overworked are more than a bad day. Apart from interfering with your normal life, it also affects how you feel about the job and even how you relate with others. Use the above strategies to spot and fix being overworked.