Mental Health is extremely important and while we’re finally beginning to talk about the importance of it and slowly eliminating the stigmas associated with mental health related issues, people still tend to neglect the importance of their own emotional well-being. We often forget to make ourselves a priority, especially when we’re being crushed under mountains of work or there isn’t a free moment in the day to even think about taking a second to breathe. But guess what? It’s OK. Everyone deserves a mental health day every once in a while.
And when you find yourself stressed beyond the norm, no longer acting like your usual self, that’s when it’s time to take a mental break.
Everyone has low moments and higher stress periods in their jobs or other areas of life, but there are a few ways to tell when it’s time to take a mental break before your health starts deteriorating and really affecting you both personally and professionally. If you’re feeling extra run down and like something just ain’t right, take a look at these 5 signs that it might be time for you to take a mental break.
1. You’re irritable and impatient
You Just. Can’t. Anymore. Everything little thing sets you off. Everything. Your fuse is much shorter than usual. The normal line outside the café has already ruined your day and if one more person dares to talk or even smile at you before you’ve had a chance to fully sit and decompress with your cup o’ joe you’re going to lose it. Seemingly small, trivial instances that normally wouldn’t warrant a second thought put you on the verge of tears and you find yourself being extra grumpy when you know you aren’t this bitter and usually a pretty pleasant person to be around.
2. Your eyes are heavy, you’re exhausted, but you can’t sleep
There’s a significant difference between being tired and being physically drained. That run down mental, physical, and emotion exhaustion can’t always be fixed by a simple Saturday lie in, and sometimes needs to be addressed in other ways. When you’re tired, it’s easy to find yourself out like a light within seconds, but with exhaustion it’s much harder to drift off as easily into dreamland. Your body may ache, it may feel heavy heavy and you may become lethargic even, but with an overactive mind going a million miles per second, it’s hard to find rest.
3. Your anxiety is through the roof
Some people suffer from anxiety on a daily basis, but if you feel yourself stressing more than normal, panicking, and with a constant nagging itch that you’re forgetting or dreading something even though you’ve just checked the calendar for the 100th time, it might be time to give yourself a break from obsessing over deadlines and just chill for a day. Take a breather, a fresh mind always works better.
4. You can’t focus
Do you feel like you’re thinking of a million different things at once? Like you can’t finish one task because your mind is off doing its own thing and you’ve just read the same sentence on your screen over and over again? Not being able to focus is sure sign that your brain is being overworked. This might be a sign that it’s time to take a day to think things through and strategize without the pressure before returning to tackle any problem with a clear head.
5. You’re lacking motivation
The to-do list is a mile long but the motivation to actually tackle it just isn’t there, you’ve lost it. Which leads to you being even MORE stressed and overwhelmed and then putting things off again, drawing back and then stressing over THAT.
When there’s too much going on, when you’ve lost focus and can’t pinpoint what to do next and can’t even bring yourself to attempt to move forward, you need to take a step back.
Of course, there are numerous other signs that you need a mental break. Maybe you’re getting sick more frequently or you just feel more “down” in general all the time. Maybe you’re job itself it’s just tougher by nature, physically or emotionally and you’ve been exposed to something traumatic recently. We’ve all had our “bad” weeks. And if you feel like it’s not a bad week and maybe you’re on the verge of an actual mental break or in the midst of one, it’s never wrong or shameful to seek some help! Talk to someone. You should be your number one priority, so put yourself first. We all need time to relax, to take a day off, and not to drive ourselves into the ground or to the point of no return.
It’s not healthy to push your feelings aside or to wait until you’re at a breaking point before you heed to a little self-care and love.
It’s ok to call off work, it’s ok to cancel plans, and it’s ok to be a little bit selfish when you need it. Recognize that you aren’t just a horrible grumpy person and maybe you’re just in need of a little bit of ‘me’ time. So, take a break, regroup, give your brain a rest and return with a renewed mind and prepared to tackle a new day.