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Working in probation is a stressful job role; there’s no doubt about it.

Having the responsibility for supervising offenders as well as providing information to the criminal courts, parole boards and other partner organisations can lead you to feeling tired and burnt out. If you find that you’re starting to feel unmotivated and you’ve lost your passion for helping offenders turn their lives around then you may be in need of a holiday.

So what are the signs that you need to get away? Let’s take a look…

1. You’re increasingly irritable


If you’re finding yourself increasingly stressed out and irritable with colleagues then it may be a warning sign that you’re in need of a break. As a probation worker, you’ll be trained to deal with anti-social behaviour but are you aware of when you’re displaying your own challenging behaviour? For example, you may be snapping at co-workers or escalating things into a bigger deal than they may need to be. If this is unusual behaviour for you, then it could be a clear sign that you need a few days relaxation.

2. You’re making unnecessary mistakes


Report writing is a key skill for any probation officer. With so many reports due to so many different agencies it can be easy to make a simple clerical error, but this could cause significant problems for both offenders and their victims. When you’re reviewing your reports, if you notice that you’re making simple mistakes as a result of stress or tiredness, then it’s definitely a red flag that you need to take some much-needed annual leave.

3. You’re relying on too much caffeine and sugar to get you through the day


Like any high pressured job role, it can be easy to head into the nearest Costa to grab a large latte and a sugary snack to keep your energy levels lifted. But whilst they may taste satisfying, you’ll soon find yourself crashing mid afternoon as you struggle to maintain your blood sugar levels. If this sounds familiar, then you need to try and make healthier decisions which will not just impact your waistline but your purse too.

Where possible, try to limit caffeine and opt for flavoured water or low calorie snacks instead. If you can maintain a steady blood sugar throughout the day, you’ll naturally feel less stressed, more alert and you’ll likely get a better night sleep as well.

4. You’re jealous of anyone booking a short break


If you know that you’re in need of a holiday, nothing can give the rage more than a co-worker talking about their latest city break or showing you their holiday snaps. If this sounds familiar then why not speak to your line manager and book a few days leave. With various last-minute deals available, you could easily catch a few days away at a bargain price!

5. You’re unmotivated and fed up


This is the most serious sign of needing a break. It’s not just about taking a few days to recharge your batteries, it could be a more pressing sign that you’re unhappy in your job role and you’re ready to move onto a new challenge.

If you’re struggling to switch off from work at the end of a long shift, or you’re finding yourself staring at the ceiling at 3am thinking about work then you may need to take some time off to refresh your mind. Of course, if after a few days of rest you find yourself dreading returning to the office then it is likely time for you to start looking for a new probation job role.
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