The question of whether to take a mental health leave from work is very complex, and the particulars can vary from person to person. We recently spoke about the different types of mental health leave that are available to you, but when is it time to consider taking a serious break from work? Today we’re going to go over some telltale signs that might indicate that it’s time to take a rest and tend to your mental well-being.
The Loss of a Routine
From time to time, we all slip a little on our routine. Whether it’s just a bad day or you’re under the weather, it’s reasonable to expect some shakeup here and there. It’s when it becomes a pattern that it should be a cause for concern.
If being consistent in your routine seems like a thing of the past, and it has been getting more and more difficult to get out of bed, much less get to work on time, it could be a symptom of something more serious. It’s important to know the difference between a hiccup in your routine and a pattern of behavior that is detrimental to your well-being, as well as to your job.
Constantly Calling Out
This entry can be seen as similar to the last one, although it’s a bit more intense. Rather than feeling sluggish and struggling to get to work on time, you’re unable to find the proper motivation to get to work at all.
Frequently calling out from work is a surefire way to get yourself swiftly terminated, which should seem obvious; however, if you’re feeling as though you can’t go to work due to stress or burnout, it could be a sign of depression. Be sure to distinguish between not wanting to go to work, and not being able to.
The Loss of Excitement
Suddenly losing interest in things you once enjoyed is often considered a symptom of depression. If you’re finding yourself less than enthused about projects you once felt passionate about, or if you’ve been feeling annoyed or stressed out at the thought of normal tasks, it may be a sign of a mental health issue.
It’s worth noting that in each of these instances, we’re looking for patterns. Once in a while we all get irritable, perhaps even lazy, or just plain tired. In other words, not everyone is excited and amped up about work all the time. Be on the watch for changes that are both negative and consistent when identifying the source of the issue.
Changes in Your Behavior
You know yourself better than anyone else does, which means that changes in your behavior should be relatively easy to spot. We’ve already spoken about a lack of enthusiasm while at work, but what about your interactions with your coworkers? If you’re finding it difficult to communicate effectively or you’ve snapped and gotten out of line over something silly, it could be a sign of something bigger.
Sometimes it takes someone else noticing such changes for you to recognize them in yourself. If your coworkers have begun consistently expressing their dissatisfaction with your work or your behavior, it’s likely there’s something wrong. Take some time to do a little soul searching, and if you’re not feeling yourself lately, don’t ignore it.
A Decline in Your Mental Agility
No one can be expected to be firing on all cylinders all the time, that’s for sure; however, if you’re consistently finding it difficult to concentrate, or you’re becoming confused over things you used to breeze through, you might be in the throes of some serious burnout.
Trouble concentrating can have a negative impact on your work performance, which could potentially jeopardize your job and ultimately, your financial well-being. Moreover, if you’re constantly confused, you’ll always be frustrated which will only exacerbate the problem.
If any or all of these signs apply to you, it may be worth looking into some time off. Depending on the severity of your condition, long-term mental health leave may be necessary. The most important thing here is to identify patterns as they emerge, and don’t ignore these early warning signs.
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