When To Take A Break For Your Health
The responsibilities of everyday life can gradually wear us down. It’s important to know when to take a break to preserve our mental and physical health. Just what are some of the signs that a break is necessary? And how should you take a break? This post explains all.
When To Take A Break For Your Health
Signs You Need A Break
Experience any of the following signs and some time out could be necessary.
You’re constantly exhausted
Do you feel like you don’t have the energy to do anything anymore? Do you spend most days looking forward to sleep? Being constantly exhausted is no way to live. If you keep trying to run on empty, you’ll eventually experience a breakdown (in the form of a mental breakdown or burnout) - your body and mind will force you to stop whether you want to or not, and it will likely be at an inappropriate time such as midway during a stressful work shift or while trying to prepare for a big event like Christmas or moving day. Chronic exhaustion can often be caused from a lack of sleep - often from burning the candle at both ends. However, too much stress can also make us tired by causing muscles to constantly be tense and our mind to constantly be alert.
Stress is causing other physical problems
Too much stress can also trigger a number of other physical problems. Conditions like acne, eczema, arthritis, IBS, alopecia, migraines and regular nosebleeds can all be triggered by stress. More serious health problems like cancer, heart attacks, strokes and dementia can also be attributed to stress. If you start experiencing any unusual health problems that could be triggered by stress, you should listen to your body and take a break. De-stressing can help reduce high blood pressure, reduce inflammation, relax muscles, boost our immune system and make it easier to sleep - all of which can prevent various health problems from taking effect.
You’re not looking after yourself
A break could also be needed if you’ve started to abandon various self care tasks. What exactly are some of the self care tasks you should be carrying out? A few important examples include eating enough/eating healthily, getting enough sleep, practising good personal hygiene, getting outdoors and being physically active. Many of us stop looking after ourselves either because we have no time to practise self care or because we are depressed and no longer see the purpose in looking after ourselves. Lack of self care could eventually lead to all kinds of problems from weight loss/gain to being dismissed from work. A break could allow you to start focusing on yourself again.
You’re losing interest in things that always brought you joy
If you spend most of your life constantly doing things you don’t want to do, you may eventually lose a connection with the things you once loved. At first, you may resent not having time for them. Soon after, you may start to see these personal hobbies and interests as pointless. This is a clear sign that depression is creeping in and that you need to take a break to remind yourself of what is important. We all deserve personal hobbies and passions - whether it’s sports, gaming, artistic endeavours, crafts, music, TV or reading. Take a break in order to familiarise yourself with these things that once brought you joy.
You have no time to be there for the people you love
Finally, it could be time to take a break if you are no longer spending quality time with family and friends. Maintaining friendships and close relationships with immediate relatives is important for our mental health. Keep sacrificing quality time with your loved ones, and you could find that these people become distant. By taking a break, you can rekindle your connection with these people before they become estranged.
What are the best ways to take a break?
In order to ‘take a break’ you need to know what you need a break from. Is it work? Parental duties? Housework? Socialisation? By identifying what it is that is wearing you down, you can identify the most effective way of temporarily distancing yourself so that you can recharge. Below are some examples of ways to take a break.
Take some leave from work
For many of us, work is the biggest stressor and is often what consumes most of our free time. Taking leave from work can help you to earn back some free time and allow you to destress. It can also help you to reassess what really matters in life. Consider scheduling a week or two off work if you feel your job is getting you down. If you are ill from work-related stress, it may even be worth taking a few more weeks off to fully recover.
Consider a relaxing vacation away
A vacation can not only get you away from work, but it can get you away from the stresses of home life such as household chores. It can also be a chance to spend quality time with friends or family. On top of this, it can provide a fresh change of environment so that you can gain some perspective on your life and work out what needs to change permanently. Just make sure that your vacation is truly spent relaxing - don’t go away with people whose company you don’t enjoy, indulge in activities you enjoy and make sure you are well prepared for the vacation.
Get someone to look after your kids/pets for a week
As much as you may love your kids and pets, there may be times when you need a break from the responsibility of them. Asking someone you trust to babysit/dogsit for a couple nights and perhaps even getting away from home with a friend or partner could help give you the break you need.
Ask for support with other areas you are struggling with
Struggling to keep on top of housework? Struggling to find time to eat or sleep? Friends and family may be able to step in help if you need it - you just need to ask. When it comes to decluttering the house or moving home, it can often be worth asking for a helping hand to speed up things. If you are looking after a newborn and you are sleep deprived, don’t be afraid to similarly ask a friend or family member you trust to look after your little one while you catch up on some sleep. Of course, it’s important to only ask people for help that you feel comfortable relying on - if you have no friends or family you can rely on, consider whether professional support is an option.
Know when to consider rehab
It could be worth looking into rehab for depression if you feel like everything is getting on top of you. Rehab can prove a sheltered environment away from the stresses of the world allowing you to get a break and help recover your mental health. You can also take therapy sessions to help work out how to improve your life to eliminate future stress. Rehab is of course useful when also dealing with substance abuse, as it can help you to get away from the substance and any triggers.
Scheduled break or emergency break?
You should consider how close you are to burnout when choosing when to take a break. If you can cope a couple weeks or a couple months, a scheduled break is the best option. If you feel you’ve already given everything you’ve got, an emergency break may be better suited. Emergency breaks are particularly necessary if you are experiencing physical health problems or depression symptoms that are rapidly getting worse. A vacation may not always be an option when taking an emergency break, although there may still be ways of getting away from home if you feel you need the space (just make sure you communicate with loved ones in advance and don’t just abandon responsibilities).