It has been 8 months since I last posted here. A lot has been happening that needed my full attention, which meant my blog needed to go on the backburner. And to be honest, I was not coping. I was extremely overwhelmed by everything.
It’s no secret that I struggle with mental health issues, and have done so for the past 25 years, but after the birth of my son I suffered an extreme relapse and had post-natal depression. I worked hard to get my mental health back on track and was doing well. Then lockdown hit. And although I am an introvert, the isolation from family and friends really affected me.
I think that was the main catalyst that propelled me back down that spiral. After that everything seemed to overwhelm me, the daily struggles of motherhood, lack of sleep, changes to our living arrangements, breakdown in friendships, renewed friendships, issues in my marriage. You know, the kind of things pretty much everyone deals with on a day-to-day basis.
But I was burnt out, so everything seemed worse than it was. And with every step, every change, every overwhelm, I slowly went deeper and deeper into myself, until one day when I realised, that the stress of it all had worsened, to the point where I needed to make some changes. I just needed a mental break. I just needed time to myself to work through all the stress.
Signs you may need a mental break
Are you experiencing issues at home and at work? Is your energy suffering, but you still can’t sleep at night? Are you having major mental or physical changes that aren’t related to anything else? If so, it might be that stress is leading to severe overwhelm in your life, which means it might be time for a mental break.
Here are some of the more common signs that you need a mental break.
You Are Headed for a Nervous Breakdown
One of the most common signs that you need to take your mental health seriously and get a break is when you might be headed for a nervous breakdown. These signs are very similar to those you experience when you are dealing with overwhelm and burnout, though often much more severe.
A nervous breakdown, or mental breakdown, is when your stress gets to the maximum level. Not everyone “snaps” as you might see portrayed in media, I know I didn’t, but many people just get to the point where they can no longer handle anything anymore. I found it very difficult to function daily.
People have noted symptoms like severe depression, lethargy, fatigue, sleeping for days on end, constantly calling in sick to work, neglecting personal hygiene, and having sudden mood swings and angry outbursts. I was leaving dishes in the sink for days, laying on the lounge and doing the very bare minimum.
If you are exhibiting any of these signs, it is a good time to take a mental break and figure out what can be done about your main sources of stress.
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Your Anxiety or Stress Has Worsened
Have you noticed that your stress or anxiety has suddenly gotten worse recently? Mine did. Maybe you have stress that is only getting worse instead of better, you have more panic attacks and moments of heightened anxiety, or you just no longer have those little breaks from your stress. This can be another sign that it is time for a mental break. Your body and mind need a break from the stress in your life, which everyone deals with, but nobody should have 24/7.
Your Relationships are Suffering
Another common sign that you need a mental break is when your personal relationships are suffering. This can be a romantic relationship with a boyfriend, girlfriend, or spouse, or just with close friends and loved ones.
My marriage was suffering, every little thing made me snap, nothing was off limits. Friendships were tested and some no long exist.
When your relationships suffer, it is a good time to think about the reason, and if your own mood or behavioural changes might be contributing to it. You don’t want this to go on for too long before you make changes to reduce your own stress and overwhelm.
Your Work is Suffering
Your work might also start suffering when you have high levels of stress or burnout. This can be any type of work you do, whether you run a business, work from home, or work outside of the home. Think about how your business is run and what your productivity is like right now compared to a month ago or a year ago.
Are there considerable changes? Do you get less done? Are you having problems with focus and concentration? Are you earning less money? Not only can these be signs of the amount of stress you have, but they can make your stress worse. This is a vicious cycle you need to get a handle on right away. That was the main reason I chose to take a leave of absence from my blog, if I couldn’t produce quality content that resonated with people or helped them in some way then I didn’t want to be producing any content at all.
You Never Have Time for Yourself
Everyone needs a break and time off, no matter who you are and what your life is like. There is no amount of work that should be more important than having a little self-care preferably daily, but at least on a regular basis.
If you feel like 100% of your time is devoted to work, family, and home life, and you never have even a few minutes a day to yourself, then you are probably also in need of a mental break in a major way.
You Feel Overwhelmed and Helpless
Lastly, if you have been feeling very overwhelmed with everything in your life, to the point where you feel helpless and don’t even know how to start fixing it, you need a mental break. You might also be headed towards a breakdown, so giving yourself some time right now is the best way to avoid it.
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What do you struggle with when it comes to self-care? Comment below.