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  • Writer's pictureMind on the Path

Is it time for a mental health break?

Updated: Dec 20, 2023

Benefits of mental health breaks and how to know when it may be time to take one

It's been over a month since my last blog post. During that time, I've been traveling, celebrating birthdays/holidays, and experiencing high levels of stress and anxiety to the point that my physical health is beginning to suffer as a result. I've finally reached the conclusion that I wish I would've noticed sooner, but it's time for a mental health break. You may or may not have heard of someone taking a mental health break before, but I want to share with you some of the biggest benefits I've experienced from taking time to rest and ways that may help you determine if you're in need of the same thing.

Top benefits of mental health breaks:

1. Time

One of the best ways a mental health break helps me is that it gives me a chance to slow down and take time to process and address what's causing me stress or anxiety. I can take a moment to notice what's been going on in my mind and body and ask myself what I need. Life is so busy that it can be hard to slow down enough to even notice there is something wrong let alone have time to address what's off. Making time for yourself is a crucial part of self-care and overall mental health. It's important to recognize when it's time for the rest and break that your mind and body need.

2. Space

Another benefit of taking a mental health break is having space to yourself and for those people in your life who are safe, if that's what you need. I work from home and am used to having all of the workday to myself, but that is not the same thing as creating intentional time and space after work to just be able to sit by myself and manage my thoughts and emotions.

If you have a spouse/kids/family it can be even more difficult to make that space for yourself at home, but if so, maybe try going for a solo walk, go for a little drive, or even think about scheduling a massage/spa day. It's not selfish to need some alone time if it means you're giving yourself the space to find health and strength so that you can then be present with your loved ones in a much healthier state of mind.

Sometimes you may be in a place where being alone isn't helpful, but rather you just need a break from outside people. This is where setting up and establishing safe people in your life that you can comfortably turn to during times of struggle is crucial for those days where your mental health needs some additional outside support.

Create space for yourself and, if needed, your safe people, so that you have room to breathe and reset.

3. Reset

When my mind is racing and my anxiety is rising, I find myself being more easily triggered and it becomes harder and harder to stop and notice exactly what I'm feeling and why I'm feeling that way. Soon I become so overwhelmed and feel like I'm drowning in a sea of my own stress and worries that I am unable to determine both the cause of drowning and the source of rescue that I need. That's when taking a mental health break can be a pivotal way for me to change the tides of surging stress and anxiety.

When I take a day off from work or use a day during the weekend to focus on self-care instead of hanging out with friends/family, I am giving myself the ability to stop and break down what's been going on the past several days or even weeks in my mind. Then comes the room for growth and reset.

Putting myself in a setting where I'm not continuing to be exposed to new triggers and stressors makes it possible for me to ask how I'm feeling and what I need and begin to use those coping techniques that I've been struggling to turn to during the spiral of anxiety. The reset stops the feeling of everything just continuing to pile up and allows me to unload the baggage I've been carrying piece by piece until I'm back in a healthier mental and physical state.

I may not get rid of all the worries and anxiety, but if I've been able to reduce them, I can become less likely to be triggered in my day to day. I'll be better able to manage my emotions so that I can get back to taking care of my responsibilities and enjoying my day.

4. Refresh & Relax

The last major benefit of mental health breaks is having the chance to simply refresh and relax my mind and body. Continued stress and anxiety in my days usually means my body is taking the toll be that through inadequate sleep, digestive issues, or overall feeling tense and guarded. Mental health breaks not only bring rest and restoration for my mind, but my body as well.

If I'm able to take a break, I'm reducing the stress my body is experiencing and giving it the opportunity to receive what it needs even if it's something as simple seeming as a nap. Getting my mind and body back into a more calm and relaxed state helps me feel more in control of my emotions and more prepared to tackle any new triggers or stressors I might face.

How to decide if it's time to take a mental health break:

The most important deciding factor is you. Nobody knows you better than yourself.

It might be time for a break if you:

  • Feel overwhelmed by stress/anxiety that it's becoming hard to perform day to day functions.

  • Notice your emotions are hard to manage and control in different settings to where you are expressing emotions in a time or place that are not the most productive or healthy for you.

  • Feel like life is becoming uncontrollable and unmanageable because of all of your responsibilities and you would rather just avoid them all because it feels too overwhelming to focus on them.

  • Experience stress/anxiety to the point where it's beginning to negatively impact your body and/or your physical health.

  • Recognize that your level of stress/anxiety are starting to affect your relationships with friends/family.

You are the best person to determine if it's time to take a mental health break. If you're like me, you may not notice it's time for one until you reach a breaking point. My breaking point was physical health problems that I began experiencing as a result of my stress and anxiety. I hope you can determine your need for a break before that breaking point, but trust that even if you're lost in the chaos, your mind and body will tell you when it's time for rest. Listen to them.

Your responsibilities, your job, your loved ones are so much more blessed when they receive the healthiest possible version of you. It may feel difficult or wrong to take a break, but all of those responsibilities and people in your life will benefit more from you being healthy and at peace than for you to continue to struggle and suffer while they receive the drained and worn-out version of you. Take some time to stop and assess if you think it may be time for a mental health break.

Ready to take a mental health break?

You maybe have determined it is time for a break, but don't know what that means exactly or how that looks. It all depends on your stressors and your needs. Maybe you need a daily mental health break where you schedule 15 minutes every day to yourself to simply sit, be still, and process what you're going through. Maybe you need to take a sick day off from work and rest. Maybe a vacation to get away from responsibilities would be helpful. Or maybe you just need a social break from people and decide not to make any plans for the weekend. It's not a one size fits all solution.

Your mental health break can look like however you need it to, and it will be different for everyone based on job requirements, family needs, etc. but please believe that there is a way for every single person to take a break and you should not feel guilty for taking it. A healthy and stable version of you is what you deserve, and a struggling and hurting version of you is what deserves to be cared for and given rest. Be patient and kind with your mind and your body, and take the time for well-deserved mental health breaks when you need them.

We all need breaks, and I myself am currently working on a plan for my own mental health break. Therefore, I may not be writing blog posts as often during this time as I'm trying to reduce my stress and worries. I'm focusing on getting myself back to a healthier physical and mental state. I'd appreciate your prayers during my time of working to reset and restore, and I'll be praying for you in your mental health struggles and journey. If you have any specific prayer requests or wish to share your favorite ways of taking a mental health break, leave a comment below!

*** Anything written in this blog is based on my own personal experience and not a professional opinion. If you or someone you know is struggling with any mental health issue, please speak to a professional. For a list of some mental health resources and contacts available to you, please download the file below. ***

For even more blogs on mental health be sure to subscribe below to be notified of all future posts. And follow my page on Instagram and Facebook at @mindonthepath to stay up to date on all announcements and posts. If you enjoyed this blog post, please share it and leave a like or comment below! Thank you for your support and for reading!!

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