Take a break. It’s for your health.
If you follow me on twitter you will have noticed that the last couple of weeks I have been feeling pretty rubbish.
In fact, this last week I’ve not been able to blog at all, even on my days off, because I couldn’t get my brain in gear. I’ve been excessively tired, even more than usual, I’ve had a really bad cold, and my joints have been getting progressively more painful. On the plus side I have been sleeping better than I have in months!
Firstly, my apologies for the lack of blog updates. I do usually pride myself on multiple posts a week so to not post at all for a week has been a HUGE set back.
Secondly, I wanted to share with you the reasons why it is OKAY to take a break every now and again. It is IMPORTANT to make sure you are taking regular breaks for you and your body.
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Take a break for your mental health
Your mental health is important, so so important.
Doing too much for too long will put a strain on your mind and on your body. You need to make sure you’re giving yourself time to take care of you. Are you eating? Are you sleeping? Are you doing things that make you happy?
Even if you’re not struggling with mental health conditions like depression or anxiety, your mental health is still paramount. Self-care is still paramount. Because doing too much and overwhelming yourself over a prolonged period of time can then lead you to mental health problems.
You don’t need to take a long break. Just an afternoon here and there. Spend some time alone, read a book, take a relaxing bath, meditate, listen to music, go for a walk. Whatever it is that gives you the most out of your ‘me time’, just make sure you do it, and give yourself permission to do it.
Physical side effects of stress
When you start to feel stressed, it’s not just your mind that suffers.
Even the most mentally healthy people get stressed, and it manifests itself in different ways. My poor other half gets the worst ulcers in his mouth when he’s stressed (it’s nuts!). I get more tired and disorganised, and more anxious. Everyone is different.
It’s so important to give yourself time to come up for air every now and then. Stress is one of the top causes of workplace absence in the UK, and I know from personal experience taking time off work often leads to added stress.
Work isn’t the only cause of stress out there – it could be family pressures or relationships, struggling as a parent, anything.
Make sure you are aware of your daily stressors, and that you are taking time out from them to avoid making yourself ill.
Take a break for your sleep
Along the same lines, when I am stressed out and overworked my sleep often suffers.
I stay awake at night thinking about what I need to do tomorrow, what I didn’t get done today, what other things I can think to do in the future, if there is something I’ve done wrong etc. The list is endless. One night I was awake stressing about my next period, for absolutely no reason at all.
For someone like me, a bad night’s sleep is detrimental. I spend all of my days tired, so need every second of sleep I can get each night. Feeling overwhelmed or stressed then makes my tiredness worse, meaning I need more sleep. It all feeds into each other in a sleepy, fatigue-y, messy circle.
Taking a break and taking some time out for myself has led to better sleep and faster healing. I’ve spent my days off this week playing The Sims, instead of working on my blog. I did feel a little guilty, but it has made all the difference. Unfortunately, it’s not made any difference to my joint pain, but I am finally starting to feel a bit more human again!
You need to be doing the same. Take a break out of your daily life just to give yourself the chance to get some sleep!
Take a break for you relationships
Pushing yourself to keep going when you’re overwhelmed can affect so many areas of your life, your relationships included.
When you’re tired and stressed it can be hard to find the brain space to deal with the trials and challenges of your relationships with your partner, friends and family in a healthy way. You can become easily irritated, and arguments become more likely.
No relationship is perfect, you’re going to have your ups and downs, it’s perfectly normal. But becoming irritable and getting grumpy with one another is going to take its toll on the relationship, and arguments can then lead to added stress. Yet another messy circle.
All you need is a few minutes to yourself to get a clear head so you can tackle things in a healthier and clearer way. Taking a break from the things that are stressing you out is so important, again even if it’s just for one afternoon or for a few minutes. Take some time to just stop thinking about it all.
Take a break to avoid burnout
Finally, as I mentioned, stress is one of the top causes of workplace absence in the UK as it can build up so much that you just burn out. Your body and your mind give up and struggle to function.
This happened to me in January. I was drowning in work, struggling to keep up with my deadlines and coming home every day feeling like I’d achieved nothing. I was too tired to get anything done around the house, and I was so depressed I spent all my free time crying to myself, napping, and just trying to hide myself from the world. It resulted in me being signed off work for three weeks.
This was the wakeup call I needed that when I start to feel overwhelmed, I need to take a break from it.
As a result of that, I knew that when I was struggling with an insanely bad cold and was feeling physically and mentally run down, I needed some time off to rest. So I booked two days off work to stay at home and get myself back to normal. It may not be the most ideal way to use my holiday days, but it was crucial for me.
That’s also why, when I was still feeling pretty rubbish this week, I knew I needed to take a break from my blog to avoid any added stress (as much as I love blogging). I can’t just take days off from work each week, and I’m sure that’s the same for many of you, so I had to take a break from something else.
And it worked.
Here I am, back at it with blogging, back at it with life. My body is still in a bit of pain but my brain is back, for the most part.
Because of my M.E I will never be 100%, and I’ve accepted that. But I can do things to help me stay in the tippest toppest shape possible, and giving myself permission to take a break every now and again is one of them.
Remember that you are fully allowed to do the same thing!
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