Why You Need Mental Breaks + 5 Simple Ways to Take a Mental Break

The importance of taking occasional mental breaks cannot be over emphasized.

Mental breaks are great for your mental health in general because they give you a much-needed boost in creativity and productivity. They serve to rejuvenate and refresh your mind so you are not simply existing on auto-pilot mode on a day-to-day basis, barely makin’ it. These breaks, if taken the right way, therefore serve to provide a healthy balance between rest and work/productivity in a very busy and distracting world.

Most times, people refuse to take mental breaks because they are subconsciously connected to certain procedures and routines, so a break (whether mental or physical) in same threatens to make them feel purposeless or bored. The ironic thing about this is that while you may often cry out for a break “Oh I need a break!”, “I’m due for a vacation” and so on, the moment you take a break, it may be difficult to break free from procedure and routine. This is why you find yourself working/responding to emails on vacations or searching for a new course to take, to fight the feeling of not doing enough or the purposeless feeling.

I recently took a mental break from it all and it was simply amazing. I would be the first to admit that sometimes I fall into the category above of people who feel the need to do something at every point in time. However, in recent times, I am learning to just be and enjoy being.

So how do you know if you need a mental break ASAP? Here are just a few signs to show you you may need to take a break and chiiiiiilllllll.

No Motivation: You lack the motivation to get things done and nothing seems to inspire you anymore. You’re just going through the motions of life and sometimes, try to get motivated, but keep failing to be motivated.

Irregular sleep pattern: You are currently experiencing an irregular sleep pattern which may be due to stress, insomnia or “burning the midnight oil”.

Anti-social: You have become anti-social and subconsciously prefer to experience socialisation through your phone by scrolling through social media and interacting with people online.

Stressed out: You are currently mighty stressed out due to workload, activities and sometimes, unrealistic deadlines you are fighting to meet. You are therefore highly irritable, frustrated, always on edge and just all over the place mentally.

Low creativity/productivity: No matter how hard you try, putting high quality work out there seems to be a chore and your productivity is greatly declining.

There a lot more signs that you may need a mental break which I will encourage everyone reading this to research on, but the fact remains that if you feel it in your gut that you’re due for a mental break, then you most likely are!

So what ways can you take a mental break? Well, I am glad you asked!

Unplug: Unplug from it all; distractions, notifications, emails, social media…all of it! Sometimes, we may convince ourselves that scrolling through social media is taking a break. While that may be true to some extent, our brain still does some work while looking at photos or reading captions which are capable of evoking different kinds of emotions within us.

Take some time to meditate: Even if it’s just for five minutes a day. When on an extended mental break, meditating and observing quiet times for minutes or hours at a stretch can help quiet and refresh your mind. Meditating or observing a quiet time does not mean overthinking or mentally crossing of things on your to-do list. Think of nothing in particular or just visualise relaxation by thinking of an image that relaxes you such as the warm sun on your skin or a calm sea.

Immerse yourself in nature: Feel the ground or grass underneath your feet and focus on being present on enjoying your environment and the scenery. You can also take a walk as this is great way to relieve stress because it’s a great escape for your mind. Heading out for a quiet early morning walk in a peaceful environment when possible may offer even more relaxation.

Just Be: Be okay with “just being”. Simply sit still and take it all in slowly. Don’t be in a rush. You may also choose to relax, watch something or read a book. This may serve as a great escape and can leave you feeling refreshed, relaxed, and ready to face whatever is outside your bedroom door.

Stay away from Toxicity/Negativity: Consciously staying away from toxic/negative people, situations or thoughts is a simple way to take a mental break. You are left feeling positive, refreshed, creative and productive. It’s okay to take a break from toxic or negative people, no matter who they are or where they are.

While these are simple ways to take an occasional mental break or two rom every day living, it is important to state that going on a vacation or changing locations does not automatically mean you are taking a mental break. Mental breaks need to be intentional, purposeful and effective.

You do not need to go for a vacation or change your location to take a mental break. All you need to do is shut down and shut out for a while till your mind feels rejuvenated and refreshed.

Remember, “You’re still worthy even if you do nothing. Your worth is in your being, not in your doing.”

I hope this was helpful in some way. Kindly share with me in the comments what simple ways you take mental breaks!

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