Editor’s Note: if you’re like me, you like to push well beyond your physical, mental and emotional limits to get things done. In today’s guest post, Thomas Warren writes about the benefits of taking a break.
The modern world is fast-paced. With unlimited information bombarding us at the speed of light and commuter traffic so sluggish that the guy strolling down the sidewalk has already passed you twice, it can be hard to escape to some shady little corner and take a minute out of the day just for yourself.
Even if you don’t live, work and sit in major metropolitan gridlock, your day is probably filled with activities, events and a million distractions that raise your stress level and negatively impact your health.
Why don’t you take a break?
Think about what happens when you get sick. If you’re smart, you stay home. You give your ailing body a chance to recover. Why? Because if you don’t, it will only get worse.
Your mind needs the same consideration. However, most people don’t take the mental break they need. Why is this?
The truth is, although the study of mental health has been around for quite awhile, nobody entirely understands the magnitude of the workings of the human mind. It is an inexact science. If you have a cold or a broken leg, there are steps you can take to rectify the situation.
But if your problem is one of mental health…
There is a stigma attached to people who admit to mental health problems, whether it’s something as severe as schizophrenia or milder symptoms like fatigue. So you pretend that you slept in a funny position, or had some bad sushi, or the coffee isn’t strong enough, and push on instead of stopping to examine the real source of the problem.
If you find that you’re often exhausted, have trouble sleeping because of thoughts swirling in your head, suffer from frequent headaches or muscle aches, have anxiety or depression, often feel flustered or overwhelmed, or you are experiencing any number of other symptoms related to stress, then it’s time to take a mental break.
Taking a Mental Break
Start by taking a day off, and I mean really taking a day off (a week is even better). Ship the kids to Grandma’s house, send your spouse to stay with a friend, and unplug. Turn off the TV, your telephone and anything else that can cause a distraction, and just spend some time with yourself.
When was the last time you did this? You probably haven’t had a minute to be bored since you were ten. Enjoy it!
Are you a chronic calorie counter? Eat something on the bad list and don’t even dare feel guilty about it.
Go to the park. Take a bath. Read a favorite book. Do some yoga. In short, spoil yourself. But for god’s sake, do not spend a minute thinking about your work, your family, your “obligations” or anything other than making yourself feel good.
After Your 1st Mental Break
Okay, now what? Start scheduling in regular breaks of this nature. Whether it’s a two-hour lunch once a week, a spa day every month or a yearly trip to in Cabo, make sure you are doing something good for yourself.
You cram so much living into every single day of your life that it goes by in a blur and before you know it, you’re wondering how forty crept up on you when you swear you just turned thirty. But what are you working so hard for if not so that you can enjoy your life?
Benefits of Regular Mental Breaks
Catering to your mental health is necessary for your overall health and well-being. In addition to making you feel calmer, more rested and less scattered, a mental break can also help you deal with physical ailments like high blood pressure, headaches, and insomnia.
It can also save your job. Employees who are happy and focused produce more and higher quality work. A break will get you back on track and allow you to put in less effort for more output.
Plus, you want to be happy, right? A stressful lifestyle is hard to enjoy and moments of happiness can be few and far between. Taking time for yourself can lead to long-term contentment and deeper satisfaction in your daily life.
So don’t put it off. Your schedule is filled with commitments of your own making. Don’t be afraid to put other people aside once in awhile to focus on the most important person in your life…you.
About the Author
Thomas Warren is a content writer for GoCollege, one of the oldest and most trusted resources to guide students on how to finance and succeed in college.
Did Thomas convince you that it’s time to make time for a mental health day? It’ll be a challenge but can you resist the urge to make everything else a priority but yourself?