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5 Subtle Signs You’re Giving Too Much Of Yourself To Your Job

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woman overwhelmed from giving too much to her job

Trends in recent years, like remote work schemes and increased vacation time, have been a godsend for many, but some studies have shown they also come with an underbelly. Many workers are giving even more of their time to their jobs, including while on vacation.

One expert says you can tell when you're going overboard by some everyday habits that are actually indicators we're way overextended, and they're so subtle you might not even realize they're problematic.

A career expert shared 5 subtle signs you're giving too much of yourself to your job.

In an Instagram post, career expert Whitney Living said the problem of being overextended can often manifest in some deceptively subtle ways, and she recently shared a list of five signs you're giving too much of yourself to your job that just might be flying under the radar.

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1. Your house is messy.

There are many reasons your space can be a bit cluttered, especially if you have kids. But Whitney says that your living space can be a sign "that your work is getting the best version of you, and you're too tired and overwhelmed to give yourself the joy of a clean home."

5 Subtle Signs You’re Giving Too Much Of Yourself To Your JobPhoto: Ingrid Balabanova / Shutterstock

Science has long found a link between messiness and mental health, including a 2012 study that found people living in cluttered houses tend to have elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol. So if your house is in some level of disarray, it might be worth considering whether work is causing the problem.

2. You eat a lot of convenient meals.

Similar to number one, Whitney says that continually reaching for frozen dinners or fast food might be an indicator you're spread too thin.

"If you're frequently eating for convenience," she wrote in her post, "it's likely because you're too tired to cook."

   

   

She goes on to say that this is an indication that you're "disconnected" from yourself, which means your "nervous system is not at peace." It might be time to pull back a bit. 

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3. You choose to numb.

If you're the type who goes immediately for mind-numbing activities after work like aimlessly scrolling social media or disappearing into a binge-watch, Whitney says that's a major sign that you're doing all you can to cope with a high level of stress. 

   

   

"If you find yourself numbing it can mean that your nervous system is overwhelmed," she wrote.

Doing something like a hobby or an activity you enjoy, which requires energy, is off the table, so your nervous system "wants you to soothe it by disconnecting from the world around you." Finding a way to pull back from work might be in order.

In the meantime, psychologists say, breathing exercises, stretches and, if you can muster it, a short walk is much more beneficial when you're totally depleted.

4. Your appearance is suffering.

Whitney says this might look different from person to person.

"It can be as simple as choosing casual clothes when you used to love dressing up," she writes — but it can also mean ignoring personal care practices. 

5 Subtle Signs You’re Giving Too Much Of Yourself To Your JobPhoto: Ground Picture / Shutterstock

"When we're overwhelmed by work we stop prioritizing what is important to us and what makes us feel good," Whitney wrote.

And mental health professionals say when hygiene and personal care feel like too big a lift it's a sign someone is mentally overwhelmed or unwell, especially for those who are neurodivergent.

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5. Small details, like your car being out of gas or your bills being unpaid are becoming normal.

Much like a cluttered home, Whitney says small but important lapses — unopened mail, an unmowed lawn, no groceries in the house — are a sign you're spread too thin.

   

   

'If doing one more thing feels like an impossible ask,' she explained, 'you have likely reached your capacity.'

It might be time to think about stepping back, putting yourself first, and setting some boundaries with work.

Not only will you benefit by giving your mind and body more space, but more than likely your work will too.

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.