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  • Writer's pictureRebecca Stone, LMHC

Honor Your Breaks

I'm going to throw this loose photo re-enactment out there to demonstrate how I may have looked earlier today.

You may know that May is Mental Health Awareness Month. As a counselor, I'm keenly aware of this and the associated facts and stats I've been sharing this month.

In short, diagnosable mental health conditions are on the rise. There are a bunch of reasons for this but I won't get into all the minutia right now. What I will share is that our:

  • current fast-paced world,

  • increasing responsibilities,

  • seemingly nearly 24/7 demands to be available/productive/plugged in/aware of the latest [news, work-related developments, etc.], and

  • bombardment of covert messages saying that we need to be perfect at anything and everything (including self-care) and that nothing less is acceptable is absolutely compounding the #stress and #anxiety of the collective.

I'm not immune, either. Today, I found myself responding to emails, running errands, and handling personal/family related things during my lunch break. In other words, I wasn't actually on a break. Sometimes that's necessary but if this happens often, it is a recipe for #burnout

As soon as I realized what I was doing, I quickly took the last 20 minutes of my break sitting by lake, taking in the views, and feeling the breeze. All my work was still there when I got back, and that 20 minutes did not make or break my day. I was actually more productive after having a break as counterintuitive as that seems to our logic.

Stop and think about it. Consider your patterns. Are your break times not being respected? Are you not slowing down to rest, relax, and recharge? Are you not getting or asking for the help that you may need so that you can have breaks? Are you caught in a cycle where you are uncomfortable unless you are constantly doing something?

Honor breaks. Use your time off. Ask for and accept help from those who can help you. Rest. Take care of yourself.

I know it's easier said than done, but preventing burnout is much easier than recovering from it. Only you can make these changes for yourself.



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