Stress Leave – The Life Grind
Grinding is a part of life for someone who wants to be at a better place. You were also of the same opinion. Wake up, work, go home, sleep, and repeat the routine daily, again and again. But lately, you have known something is different now. You are not enjoying your work – it is the opposite now actually. You are feeling stressed and overwhelmed. You might need stress leave now to get things back to normal.
Why would you need Stress Leave?
Lately, you would have felt like you were overwhelmed or stressed. It is quite common in the workplace. You might be stuck in an unmotivated rut. You tried ignoring the stress feeling, trying to soldier through, hoping that it wouldn’t affect your work, but it kept getting worse until you were sure you needed a break.
The possible toxicity of the workplace has been taxing your health – physical and mental – to the point that you feel nothing but bad. It might be time to request a meeting with a mental health professional or an HR representative regarding stress leave. You might have to discuss your symptoms in detail. It might be unfair that you need to prove your stress as it cannot be identified by a simple blood test or something like that. But it is a necessary part that is better for you to spot the problem at the root and begin towards the journey of its improvement.
If you feel any of the following symptoms you might need to start caring about your emotional health:
· Anxious and restless at times
· Getting irritated or angry about small things
· Sad or crying feeling at times
· Constant worrying about tasks
· Unable to concentrate on work
· Stuck in an unmotivated rut
Different people deal differently with their stress. Some people tend to overeat – aka stress eating – while others might be losing their appetite. Gaining or losing a lot of weight in a short amount of time is a clear indicator that something is wrong. Other obvious indications are smoking and drinking a lot more than usual and at odd times such as being drunk at work. It won’t be long until stress starts affecting the quality of life. If untreated it can lead to severe depression and suicidal thoughts.
· Insomnia, nightmares, and trouble sleeping
· Frequent headaches
· Change in appetite
· Nauseated at times
What happens when you request stress leave?
You would often find yourself not being able to focus on work. For example, if you don’t get enough sleep at night, you would be tired and sleepy at your job. Little mistakes would start piling up until it becomes a pattern. You know now that you need some time off and visited the HR to request a stress leave. Be clear when giving the details and provide explanations of how you are feeling and how it affects your daily life.
Protection of Job
Family and medical stress leave offers protection and benefits to employees that wish to take stress leave. Different terms and conditions apply but basically, if you are eligible for stress leave, your job is protected until the time you return. Your employer is required to give you your job back or put you in another similar role with roughly the same pay.
Talk with your Employer
· Keep your employer or direct supervisor always in the loop and informed of your situation.
· Be respectful and use words along the lines that you want to request a leave for health conditions.
· Be clear and direct when stating reasons, especially if hazardous or overtime requirements have increased your stress levels.
· Talk with your employer as soon as you can. Some might request at least 30-day advance notice but even if you need urgent leave you should still provide it as early as possible.
After you get time off
Don’t think of it as a vacation but a time to work on your self-recovery. Prioritize your self-care. get enough sleep, eat healthy food, exercise, and spend time with loved ones. Identify your goals and what you hope to gain from the stress leave. You might realize that you would be returning to the same environment. If you feel that way, it would be better to look for a new job. Because certainly, your health matters more than your job.
Easing Back in
When returning to your job, have a clear mindset of what went wrong in the first place. This will help you tackle the problem before it arises – even if it arises. Keep following the healthy practices you would have set in the vacation period. Your colleagues and fellow employees might ask the reason for your holidays, have an appropriate response thought out and ready. Try taking it one day at a time and do your best!
Stress is a part of daily life. It brings an interest in life and gives meaning to your job. But if it gets out of hand you might need some time off to set yourself right. It probably arises and gets too much to handle when you are at the wrong place or your methods to deal with them were inappropriate. It is okay. People learn as they move along different experiences. Take some rest days and set your life right. Get stronger and better prepared for the problems in your off time. Remember, happiness does not come when we complete easy tasks, but rather from the satisfaction that comes after completion of challenging tasks that demanded our greatest.