7 Signs It’s Time to Take a Break

iStock
iStock

The average American is given 10 vacation days a year … but uses only five of them. And even when we’re away, we’re plugged in. The problem is that while working all these hours may seem virtuous, studies have shown putting in extra time is not actually helping you get more done; it’s just wearing you down. So if three or more of these items apply to you, do yourself—and your work—a favor: Schedule some time off.

1. YOUR JOB HAS BECOME YOUR LIFE…

If work is the first thing you think about when you wake up and the last thing before you go to bed; if you think about work while you’re out with friends or playing with your kids; if you feel like you couldn’t possibly leave for a few days—it’s time to leave for a few days. Unless you are the President of the United States, your absence is not going to kill anybody. You are not that important. (Sorry.) 

2. …BUT YOU HATE YOUR JOB.

If you previously liked your job but gradually you’ve come to hate it for no discernible reason, it might be time for a break. If there is a clear cause but it’s something you can’t change, you also deserve a few days’ respite.

3. YOU’RE ALWAYS TIRED.

Stress is one of the most common causes of insomnia and poor sleep. If the parade of deadlines in your head is keeping you up at night, or if you start having regular work-related bad dreams, it’s time to step away.

4. YOU’RE MAKING SILLY MISTAKES.

Stress also hinders our performance at work. The more overworked or stressed out we are, the more avoidable mistakes we will make. If your list of little errors is piling up, you probably need to recharge your batteries.

5. YOU JUST CAN’T DEAL.

If you feel thin-skinned and every broken fingernail or missing pen becomes a crisis, you are in serious need of some rest and perspective. Stress can erode our emotional resources, making it harder to deal with problems both big and small.

6. YOUR BODY IS A WRECK.

Stress can raise your blood pressure, upset your stomach, and give you headaches. Working at a desk all day puts stress on your wrists, shoulders, hands, eyes, back, and neck. Every job is hard on your body if you don’t take breaks.

7. YOU HATE EVERYTHING.

Is everything awful right now? Do you dread the thought of getting out of bed and going to work? Do you feel pessimistic about everything? Are you unpleasant to be around? It might be time to get away from it all. (But, it’s important to note, if these feelings persist and are accompanied by a loss of interest in things you care about and/or a constant feeling of numbness or gloom, it may be time to talk to your doctor.)

This Nifty Potato Chip Bag Hack Is Amazing the Internet

Keep that crispy, crunchy freshness inside the bag—no tools needed.
Keep that crispy, crunchy freshness inside the bag—no tools needed.
etiennevoss/iStock via Getty Images

If you don’t have enough chip clips to keep your snack bags shut—or if you have a habit of misplacing them—there’s no shortage of household items you can use instead. Clothespins, binder clips, rubber bands, and ponytail holders all get the job done, and you could even use an especially durable paper clip or bobby pin in a pinch.

But, as many people on the internet just discovered, all you actually need to seal your half-eaten bag of potato chips is the bag itself. Last week, actor and host of Bravo’s Top Chef Padma Lakshmi posted a video on Twitter of her tightly closing a bag of Fritos without any makeshift chip clips.

First you fold the two sides of the bag down as far as they’ll go, so the top of the bag is shaped like a triangle—similar to how you’d wrap a present. Then, roll up the bottom of that triangle a few times until you’ve created a pocket, under which you can tuck the triangle’s point. After that, simply roll the top of the bag down a few times, and you’ve successfully sealed the bag.

At the end of the video, Lakshmi turns the bag upside down and gives it a few shakes to show everyone just how secure it is. She tweeted the hack with the caption “How am I just finding out about this now?” and, considering that the video has been viewed more than 10 million times, it’s safe to say that she’s not the only one who didn’t know about the hack.

Wondering what other life hacks you might be missing out on? Find out how to chill a soda in three minutes, remove scratches on CDs, and more here.

6 Fun Backgrounds to Use on Your Next Video Call

You might be stuck in the living room, but it doesn't have to look like it.
You might be stuck in the living room, but it doesn't have to look like it.
Ridofranz/iStock via Getty Images

If you’re struggling to find a perfectly decorated wall in your house to serve as the backdrop for your video calls with friends, family, and coworkers, we have good news: Video conferencing platform Zoom lets you customize your very own virtual background.

To do it, log into your Zoom account, go to “Settings” on the left side of your screen, and choose the "Meeting" tab. Scroll down to the “In Meeting (Advanced)” section, and then scroll down farther to make sure the “Virtual background” option is enabled. After that, open the Zoom application on your desktop, click on the “Settings” wheel in the upper right corner, and go to “Virtual Background.” There are a few automatic options, but you can choose your own image from your computer files by clicking on the plus-sign icon.

Now, the only thing left to do is decide which image will best set the tone for your next video call. From the New York Public Library’s Rose Reading Room to Schitt’s Creek’s Rosebud Motel, here are six of our favorites.

1. The Rosebud Motel lobby from Schitt’s Creek

schitt's creek rose motel lobby
It's not the Ritz-Carlton.
CBC

You can imagine that David is just out of frame, doing his best to carry on a silent—albeit with lots of expressive gesturing—conversation with Stevie at the front desk. (More Schitt's Creek backgrounds here.)

2. Carl and Ellie’s house from Up

carl and ellie's house from up
Balloons not included.
Walt Disney Pictures

If you’re hoping to create a calming atmosphere, look no further than the cozy little sitting room where Carl and Ellie grew old together in 2009's Up. (More Pixar backgrounds here.)

3. The attic study from Knives Out

knives out attic study
Nothing bad has ever happened here.
Lionsgate

If your own study isn’t quite teeming with intriguing souvenirs and leather-bound volumes, feel free to borrow this one from the mansion in 2019’s Knives Out. (More Knives Out backgrounds here.)

4. The USS Enterprise from Star Trek

star trek's uss enterprise bridge
A great way to get your coworkers to fess up to being huge Trekkies.
TrekCore.com, Twitter

Blame your spotty internet connection on the fact that you’re traveling through the galaxy at the speed of light with this background from the bridge of Star Trek’s USS Enterprise. (More Star Trek backgrounds here.)

5. The New York Public Library’s Rose Reading Room

new york public library reading room
You reserve the right to shush any coworkers who forgot to mute themselves.
New York Public Library

Bibliophiles who can’t make it to the library can still pay a virtual visit to the sumptuous Rose Main Reading Room at the New York Public Library’s iconic Fifth Avenue location. (More New York Public Library backgrounds here.)

6. The Werk Room from RuPaul’s Drag Race

rupaul's drag race werk room
Sashay away from the screen if you're taking a bathroom break during the call.
VH1

Dazzle your coworkers by calling in from the vibrant room where all the magic—and most of the drama—happens on RuPaul’s Drag Race. If you happen to be decked out in an ensemble made entirely of things you found at the Dollar Store, even better. (More RuPaul's Drag Race backgrounds here.)

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