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7 Sure Signs You Need to Take a Mental Break

Featured Image: @madelineheising
Article by: Holly Becker’s (into holistic)

You might be asking yourself why you need a mental break. It might not even occur to you that a mental break is what you need right now and why not take a cue from the new year and start practicing? Think of how fast each day goes by, from the moment you start your day, till the time you crawl into bed and wonder to yourself where the day went. If you find yourself stressed out from work, you are not alone. 1 in 4 Americans feels over-stressed. But even though it is a norm in the US, that is not a good enough reason to dismiss it as something not to be concerned about.  If you suffer from high levels of stress, here are some reasons why you might want to recalibrate and take charge of your life, or at the very least, take a much-needed mental break.   

Stress, as you know, can cause many health problems, but did you know it can cause you to age? According to one study, stress can “accelerate aging” by shortening telomeres in white blood cells. Telomeres are the “end parts” {from the Greek telos (end), and meros (part)} that cap and protect each strand of DNA. When telomeres become shortened, the strand of DNA becomes vulnerable, and cells can age this way. (Source)  

Stress can also affect your brain. Another study found that exposure to severe stress changes the way we process information in the cerebellum, which is the area of the brain that controls motor and movement coordination, as well as learning and memory formation. (Source)

Taking a mental break can do so much to help restore your mind and spirit, especially after dealing with crazy holiday obligations. A mental break can be many different things, from deep breathing for 5 minutes, to a full hour of yoga or meditation. Whatever a mental break means to you, you and your body deserve one.  

1. You Have Too Much On Your Plate 

This is a rather obvious answer, but how much is too much? If you find that saying yes to requests from co-workers, family or even friends has your schedule maxed out, you are merely contributing too much.  One way to give yourself a break starting now is by saying no to others and saying yes to you!  

 

2. You are Experiencing Physical Effects of Stress  

Everyone experiences some form of every-day stress, but excessive stress wreaks havoc on your system. Some of the physical signs of extreme stress are when you find yourself:  

  • Prone to colds and seasonal illnesses 
  • Having a hard time getting out of bed 
  • Experiencing brain fog or an inability to focus 
  • Prone to weight gain 
  • Hitting a weight loss plateau

 

Meditating has tremendous benefits including reducing stress, improving sleep, increasing focus, and improving relationships. Meditation truly changed my life for the better, I have meditation to credit for my new found happiness and inner peace. Meditation can be overwhelming and frustrating when you are a beginner. If you are a beginner hoping to learn more about meditating and how to start, I would highly recommend checking out the Master Your Mind Beginner’s Course. This is the product that helped me to start meditating regularly and doing it the proper way to ensure maximum benefits. The Master Your Mind Beginner’s Course helps to break meditation down into much simpler steps, through an in-depth 5-week step by step program that includes 35 short daily lessons, organized by week. With clear and easy to follow instructions. Click HERE to learn more about the Course that changed my life. 

3. You Are Always Last on Your List  

If you have a to-do list, what does it look like? Are you on that list? If not, you should be. It might seem impossible when your full-time duties revolve around your priorities, but if you are taking care of numero uno first, (yes, you), you will be giving yourself a break you need to take care of all of your other responsibilities. Taking care of yourself first gives you an added sense of well-being, allows you to prioritize your life better, and keeps your focus on the task in front of you because your mind isn’t reverting to your other unmet needs. 

  

4. You’re Missing Out on Sleep  

Even though this is a norm for many, consider how it could be affecting your life. How much sleep are you getting each night? According to the APA, “adults who sleep fewer than 8 hours a night are more likely to report symptoms of stress.” The effects of sleep reported include feelings of laziness, irritability, and trouble concentrating. All of these effects can contribute to more stress and thus what is called the “sleep-stress cycle.” (Source)

Getting more sleep is a great way to give yourself a break and improve your overall sense of well-being. To improve your quality of sleep, try these tips:  

  • Go off the grid one hour before bed-time. (In other words, get off the internet)
  • Take distractions out of the bedroom. This includes your cell phone, TV, iPad, etc. 
  • Give yourself some quiet time in bed before shuteye. 
  • Go to bed on an empty stomach. Eat your last meal or snack at least one hour before bed.

Following these tips will help you to improve your sleep hygiene, mental endurance, and give you a better foundation you need to r-e-l-a-x.  

 

5. You Are an Emotional Wreck

If you are overworked, overstressed, and you aren’t taking time out for yourself, your emotional balance will suffer. Consider how you feel from day to day. If your emotions run high, and you struggle with finding humor in things, this is the most significant sign you need a mental break. 

Getting your emotional balance back can be as simple as getting that massage or facial that you’ve been putting off. Or maybe it’s spending a day getting caught up on a solo project you’ve put off because of x, y, and z. People can get caught up in helping others and putting themselves off without even realizing it.  

        

6. Your Social Circle Has Been Reduced to Your Cat and Dog  

This isn’t so bad, right, if you share your space and spare time with little critters who adore you like mad, what’s the need for friends? However, being social and having friends not only gives you a sense of self-worth, but it can also keep you healthy. According to pnas.org, lack of social connections, especially early on in life can lead to several health problems that include your immune system and metabolism. So call up your friends and make plans!  

 

7. The Line Between your Career and Home Life is Blurred 

If you can’t tell when your workday ends and your home life begins, it could be that your work is your life. If you’re truly satisfied with your work, you most likely don’t find yourself in many stressful situations. When you have other areas in life that you’re neglecting, that’s when you might want to consider where to draw the line between work and home life. 

Take as much responsibility as you can, not just where work is concerned, but where your work/life balance is concerned. Think of it as your health being on the line, versus your job. Ask your boss for more flexibility with your schedule, and if possible, focus on “results” while at work to get things done more efficiently. That will help you to leave work behind physically and mentally once you’re off the clock.  

When you take a mental break, the key is to give the time you have entirely to yourself. Put yourself in an environment that allows you to be at peace without any possible distractions. Forget what’s been causing you grief, and don’t worry about the near or distant future. Paint a visual image of what it means to relax and escape the everyday grind, or solely focus on your breath. Do this every day, as many times as you can, and remind yourself that you are worth it! 

When do you know it is time to take a mental break? Comment Below!

If you like this article, check out Holly Becker’s new health and wellness blog, intoholistic.com. Her goal is to help people find holistic ways to live a healthy and happy life and to think outside the box.  To help you kickstart the new year in a hol-istic new way, (pun intended). Holly is offering a free downloadable guided journal with impressive bonus features and gorgeous graphics!  Click here to sign up for your free Self-Discovery Journal. 

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1 Comment
  • Angela
    June 10, 2018

    I am definitely stressed and need to change some things

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