Taking a mental health break

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People won’t hesitate to take a break when their physical health is bad but are reluctant to treat their mental health with the same importance.

Your mental health plays a huge role in your ability to work and to maintain a positive lifestyle, so taking some time off to focus on your mental health isn’t something you should feel guilty about or ashamed of.

When thinking about taking mental health days off, make sure that you know the distinction between wanting a day off and genuinely looking after yourself. Some signs to look out for that may mean you need a mental health break can include:

  • Moods: constantly feeling angry, irritated, tearful, depressed or anxious.
  • Behaviour: actively disconnecting from others, lashing out at people easily, decreasing work performance, not being as motivated, making more simple mistakes or accidents.
  • Thoughts: having pessimistic and negative thoughts, feeling disillusioned, resentful or discontent.
  • Physical: being constantly tired, body tension issues, adult acne, constant colds, headaches and migraines, sleeplessness, difficulty focusing, significant weight loss or weight gain.

Everyone has their own way of taking care of their mental health, but if you’re not sure where to start, consider the following tips.

Do emotional work
Consider the reasons why your mental health has been low. Ask yourself what you can do about things that make you feel bad instead of putting blame on external factors. Engage in some problem solving or reframing situations more positively and realistically. Consider if going to therapy, talking to someone you trust, or taking an extended break will benefit you.

Socialise
Try to spend some time reconnecting with your friends and family. Human connections and socialising are linked to mental well-being and can help avoid social anxiety and loneliness.

Do activities you enjoy
Working full time or having other commitments can mean that your hobbies are deprioritised. You can spend some time in your break going back to activities you like, whether it be painting, reading, music or watching movies. This can help you relax and enjoy yourself.

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