7 Signs You Need to Put Your Health First

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We live in a fast-paced culture that teaches us to put work above all else. But there are times you need to put your health first — as in, before anything else. Without your health, you can't have anything, so if your work is important to you, your health should be, too.

"Pain is there to tell us something is wrong — stop what you are doing, and either rest or get help," Dr. Carolyn Givens, MD tells Bustle. "Pain is one of the most obvious signals our bodies give us that says: pay attention! Besides the obvious example of pain, changes from the usual patterns of the body’s rhythms may be a signal that something isn’t right. Significant changes in sleep quality, urinary frequency or bowel habits, appetite, or mental functioning, just to name a few, can all be potential signs of acute illness or a slower decline of one’s health."

If you're experiencing any health-related problems, see a doctor as soon as possible. And if these problems require your attention, give them all the attention they require. Any decent employer will understand if you need to focus on your health. If any of the following situations apply to you, drop everything and put your health first.

1You're In Danger

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If you're experiencing signs of a life-threatening condition like a heart attack or a stroke, get to the emergency room ASAP, even if that means missing work or school or a social obligation. Nothing is more important than preserving your life.

2You Need Rest

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Pretty much every health issue out there is going to be exacerbated by exhaustion, so don't skimp on rest when you're battling something. Take all the time you need to sleep and relax.

3Stress Is Making It Worse

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Similarly, most health conditions are exacerbated by stress, so if refusing to take time off work is adding more stress to your plate, it's going to impact your health. When you're trying to get healthier, it's crucial to eliminate every possible source of stress from your life.

4Your Mental Health Is Suffering

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Physical health problems can take a toll on your mental health, and mental health problems can take a toll on your physical health. Mental health is physical health, and vice versa. Just because a health issue is invisible doesn't mean you can afford not to treat it.

5You Need To Conserve Energy

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If you have a lot of work to do or a big event coming up, it may be tempting to work as much as possible to prepare, but it's actually crucial to conserve your energy by prioritizing your health, even if that means saying "no" to people.

6You're Suffering From Burnout

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If you're experiencing signs of work burnout, like indecision, depression, and chronic fatigue, it's important to take care of your health before getting back in the game. Take a vacation if you can, get lots of rest, do things that make you feel good, and your energy should begin to come back.

7Your Health Is Hurting Your Work

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Working excessively can actually hurt your work if it comes at the expense of your health. It's better to take some time off and be able to do your best work when you come back than to push through and keep making mistakes.

In short, you should always prioritize your health, especially when it's affecting your life. When your health improves, everything else will, too.