According to Project Time Off's annual State of the American Vacation report, this year Americans wasted a record-breaking 658 million vacation days. That's a lot of missed opportunities for a little R&R, and a pretty serious indictment of our overwork culture.
So if taking less than your allotted time and soldiering on despite impending burnout is the norm that surrounds you, how can you tell when you're truly at breaking point? What signs indicate that if you don't get yourself online and start booking tickets basically today, you are going to finally lose your damn mind?
The internet is not short of suggestions -- some hilarious, others serious. I've rounded up a few of the most surefire signals that it's time to chuck your excuses and finally take that well earned break.
1. Molehills are starting to look a lot like mountains.
Notice how all your colleagues seem to be getting stupider and more annoying? The problem most likely isn't them, it's probably you, according to stress expert Paula Davis-Laack. "When you find yourself thinking, 'Didn't we just go over that?' or 'Why can't you understand these directions?', then you're the one who might be making a mistake--by not taking some time off to recharge," she explained in Time.
2. You're disconnected from your loved ones.
"Businesses come and go but family and personal relationships are forever," founder Ryan Frankel reminds Forbes readers. "I recently asked a highly regarded serial entrepreneur what she regretted most in her career and she didn't hesitate when she told me that she would trade all of the dollars in her bank account for lost quality time with her parents, husband, siblings and children."
This problem can also take the form of repeatedly missing important events or commitments to others. So if you're regularly skipping dance recitals, Little League games, or best buddy birthday drinks you know you should attend, be concerned.
3. You wake up with a grumble.
What's the first thing you say upon opening you eyes in the morning? "When you wake up, you make a disapproving noise (like grumbling or a 'F*** my life') out loud," it is seriously time to start planning a getaway cautions Cosmopolitan.
4. Indulging yourself isn't working anymore.
When we're run down, our first impulse is usually to indulge ourselves a little. But if those little pick-me-up treats actually leave you feeling worse overall, it's time to take more radical action -- like a proper vacation. "You think that treating yourself to a carbo-loaded lunch will make up for the fact that you have not taken a vacation since 2006, but actually it just makes you feel like a balloon filled with grease," Cosmo warns.
Or maybe for you it's skipping the gym. Or wine. "Reaching for a glass of wine as soon as you're in the door from work, overeating, or forgoing your normal exercise routine, can all be signs you need to shake things up with a vacation," Michael Kerr, author of The Humor Advantage, tells Business Insider.
5. You've misplaced your sense of humor.
Another sure sign, according to Kerr? "You find yourself not laughing as easily as you once did, or you find it harder to 'find the funny' in challenging work situations."
6. You toss and turn at night.
You'd think that if you are exhausted, the one thing you could still do well is sleep, but that's not what science shows. Being wound up and super stressed actually makes it harder to fall asleep (and more likely you'll be sleepy during the day), according to multiple studies. So "if you're having trouble sleeping, that can also be a side effect of too much stress," Andrew Shatte, another expert on stress, explained to Time.
7. You feel physically bad all the time.. but you go to work anyway.
POPSUGAR might joke that it's surely time to take a vacation when "you've already had the flu twice this year, and both times you went to work," but the site's funny gifs aside, soldiering on when you're feeling downright crappy is a sure sign it's time to take some time off. "Backaches. Headaches. Eye strain. All of these painful conditions are your body's not-so-subtle way of telling you that you might need a day off," insists Time.