Knowing When to Take a Mental Health Break
We spend a significant number of hours each week performing various duties in the office or at home. Many tasks seem never-ending. Balancing work and family is a challenge for many of us, leaving us tired and exhausted with little time for ourselves.
Each of us possesses a different level of resilience, the capacity to withstand or recover quickly from difficulties. Some people seem to bounce back from what life throws at them, while others need time to process and heal. Some individuals thrive under constant pressure, while others require frequent breaks or readjustments to handle things. Regardless, stress can catch up with us mentally, physically, or emotionally.
A Day Away from Needing a Mental Health Break
When you feel like your stress levels have reached their peak, it may be time to take a day to yourself.
A mental health day is when you take off from work, school, home care, etc. and mimimimze any commitments or responsibilities for that day. Taking time away to focus on ourselves can help regenerate and lessen the burdens you may be feeling.
One day most likely will not solve any underlying problems that are causing your burnout, but a mental health day can provide a much-needed break to pause, regroup, and come back feeling a little refreshed and perhaps a little less stressed.
Signs you need a Mental Health Day
- Feeling empty or mentally/physically exhausted
- Lack of energy
- Feelings of general frustration or apathy
- Decreased motivation or performance at work
- There may be some level of dread getting up in the morning.
- Your workload is excessively high or overwhelming.
- You have lost interest in the level of work quality you typically produce.
- You feel unappreciated.
- Your emotions seem to swing more than normal.
- You are unable to focus or tend to procrastinate more.
- Your body is more tense, or you do not feel well.
Use your Mental Health Day to promote well-being
Think of the 3 R's
- Relax – take time for yourself, albeit in nature, with friends, a long bath etc.
- Reflect – look internally to see if you have specific personality traits that may lead to additional stress – low self-esteem. Do you procrastinate? Are you a perfectionist? What modifications may support these changes? For instance, would learning better time management skills be helpful? Do you have family or friends to support your needs?
- Regroup – Know and accept your limitations. We are not superhumans. Learn to say no and ask for assistance.
And if you are unable to take a day off, or find that you want to improve your situation, know that small positive strategies can promote better mental health. Remember to be kind to your mind! Each day, find one thing that you love to do.
- Sing or dance
- Find time with friends or family
- Connect with others, even for brief moments – a smile, a greeting or a quick chat.
- Take a break
- Take a few deep belly breaths throughout the day
- Give a hand
Show yourself compassion. Recognize that it is okay to be where you are and accept it. Nurture yourself like a child. You deserve it.