The year has taken its toll on us all. You’ve probably seen social media memes saying “it’s OK not to be OK” and agreed with them. You might even have shared them with someone you thought needed to hear it. But have you ever applied it to yourself?
No, you’re OK, aren’t you? You’re managing. You’re “fine”…
But are you?
We learn to live with the pressure and its effects on us. I’m guilty of it, too. It becomes ‘situation normal’ after a while. We’re so busy making a living and meeting our deadlines that we don’t stop to consider our mental health. This is even more true now, during the extra pressure of the pandemic.
Mental health is the term used to cover our emotional, psychological, and social wellbeing.
It’s time you gave yourself permission to not be OK every single day.
What are the signs that you might need a mental health day?
Can’t get out of bed: When you wake up in the mornings, it takes all your willpower to get up and get going.
Don’t want to go to work: If you’ve hit the wall at work, it’s time for a break. Stress and deadlines are a normal part of work life but if they are squashing you, take some time off.
Your mind won’t be quiet: You climb into bed at the end of the day and that’s when your brain wakes up and starts thinking about what you haven’t done, what you could have done or what you need to do tomorrow. If you sleep at all, it’s not restful.
You’re short-tempered: You struggle to stay calm when you’re interrupted. Your kids drive you crazy, or your partner keeps chatting about things that just don’t matter… If that’s not you, you need a break.
Nothing matters: Some days you can’t get enthusiastic about anything. It’s all a waste of time. You just don’t care. Why bother anyway? (This is often the type of thinking which leads to depression, so you need to deal with it quickly.)
You’re anxious: There is always something to worry about. It’s like a rat gnawing away inside… Work, family, money… You just can’t get away from it.
You can’t focus: No matter how long you stare at that screen, you can’t concentrate. Your brain feels crammed full and there’s no room for any more data.
You feel very alone: You’ve lost your ability to connect with people. No one understands and you don’t know where to turn.
If you’re experiencing any of these signs, they are telling you to take a break. There’s no reward in being a martyr about it and soldiering on. You’re doing the wrong thing by yourself and setting the wrong example for others. You’re human – BE human. Take a break and rebuild yourself and your resilience.
Now ask yourself the question and answer it honestly.
Do you need a mental health day?