Why Mental Health Breaks Are Important
A copywriter’s experience with burnout and what you can learn from my journey.
Imagine holding an exciting position at an exciting job and yet feeling NOTHING!
As a copywriter in the inbound marketing team working on tight deadlines, you can imagine how infectiously exciting this role was.
I’d work hard for 10+ hours each day. And unlike the regular 9-5, this meant actual 9 hours of work…
No, we had trackers to hold us accountable for even 5 minutes of inactivity!
Now imagine strategizing, creating, collaborating, and implementing consistently month after month, without any break…
I became oblivious to what the future held for me…
An impending OCCUPATIONAL BURNOUT!
If you don’t know, occupational burnout is…
It’s just a fancy way of saying that the entire team at a particular organization feels physically and mentally drained because of consistently working in such a high-demand environment. Occupational burnout also goes by the terms “Burnout at work” or “job burnout,” and you can learn more about it here.
And if you’re already thinking of Googling the symptoms of burnout for yourself, let me save you the trouble.
Answer these questions to check if you show signs of work burnout:
- Have you noticed yourself becoming more irritable, critical, or cynical at work?
- Have you been feeling overwhelmed, emotional, or heavy-hearted a lot lately?
- Do you find it difficult and annoying to get yourself to work?
- Have you noticed yourself becoming more impatient with your colleagues and clients?
- Have you been excessively thinking, “what’s the point of all this?”
- Are you feeling drained, exhausted, and lacking motivation to be productive?
- Is it becoming harder for you to focus on your tasks?
- When did you last feel joy and satisfaction about your work achievements?
- Do you feel disappointed with or “stuck” in your job?
- Are you counting off the work hours and eagerly waiting to “play hard” after working hard?
- Have you been wondering why you’re not getting quality sleep?
- Have you noticed an increase in unexplained headaches, body aches, stomach aches, or other physical complaints?
If you found yourself nodding and saying, “OMG, it makes sense now,” your cure is here!
My burnout taught me something important about high-achieving personalities like ours…
We get to such high positions at an early age ONLY because we made it our nature to compulsively push through our pain and discomfort.
While this nature served and brought us here, it’s time to regain control.
Because burnout is dangerous!
Unaddressed, it can lead us straight into depression, addiction, toxic environments, or, worse, suicide.
But the good news is, here’s how you can recover from burnout.
The Burnout Recovery System, courtesy of my therapist:
Ready for the three keys to regrouping, recharging, and recovering from burnout?
- Set Boundaries
A mantra that helped me set and enforce my boundaries was:
“I have the right to protect & preserve my energy. It’s my duty to practice enforcing my boundaries.”
With constant practice, you’ll notice your perfectionist and people-pleasing tendencies start to lose grip.
Once the guilt and fear dissolve, you’ll find more confidence in setting boundaries.
So, when your boss asks you to work the weekends even after your 80h work-week, ENFORCE THOSE BOUNDARIES with your head held high.
- Schedule Breaks
Your inner critic might make you feel like you’re failing if you take breaks. But you know how outrageously absurd this lie is.
What you can do to avoid the back-and-forth with the inner dialogue is to schedule regular breaks on your calendar. Book out that time, so your brain gets on board with breaks being good for you.
One weekend getaway every three months. One week-long vacation at the six-month point and one holiday break during year-end.
And NO, taking breaks ISN’T A LUXURY!
You just need to learn it’s alright to prioritize yourself.
Blocking that space in your calendar, executing these getaways, and taking that time to recharge will help you more than you realize now.
- Seek Balance
Repeat this affirmation until it becomes your reality:
“I allow myself to create more balance, bliss, and brilliance in my life. I have enough, I do enough, and I AM enough.”
Once your mindset shifts from performance to abundance, you’ll notice embodying balance automatically.
And when your life is in balance, you’ll start playing life at a higher level.
Abundance will become you.
I want you to stay with this thought for a minute and visualize it…
What would embodying abundance look like for you?
Now, internalize this image and make it your north star as you move through your life.
In the end
The “Boundaries-Breaks-Balance” system helped me overcome my burnout and find the clarity to build the life I wanted for myself.
Overcoming my burnout also contributed to healing my anxiety disorder. And I wish you the same. For more on my story, check out this link. And if you want to dive deep into this topic, here’s a podcast episode from Katy that proves you’re not alone in this journey.