We’re living through a pandemic. We’re working from home. We haven’t seen or hugged family members, especially grandparents and parents, in over a year. And we’re expected to go on like everything is normal. May is Mental Health Awareness Month and this year, more than ever, it’s important to pay attention to your mental health and know when to give yourself a break.
Marshawn Lynch said it best when he told us to “take care y’all mentals”. He mentioned something else about chickens that we don’t fully understand, but we do understand that taking care of your mental health is so, so important. So important, that we often share the video of him saying it, especially when things are getting tough.
While some people (me) are loving working from home – I can start work early, and either end early or take a long lunch break, work out or go for a walk – some people find this change extremely tough, especially those living alone. When you can’t talk things through with another person, it can make even the smallest things build up. Our office is really good about calling each other if we need to vent or just have some human interaction. We also Zoom 3 times each week, and that has really helped with our communication processes. Talking things through is just the beginning, though.
You know your body and yourself better than anyone, so here’s your reminder to pay attention to it. If you know you’re reaching a burnout point, just take a day. You don’t always have to be in the go, go, go mindset. Sometimes, you just need to take a 3-hour lunch break or get outside for an hour. Whatever it may be, know that your mental health is more important than that project you’re working on; after all, if you’re not functioning at your highest mentally, you will not produce your best work. Oftentimes, all it takes for a refresh is taking one day and doing nothing. I mean absolutely nothing. Allowing yourself to not be productive for once can make a big difference.
We’re all getting used to our ‘new normal’ and it’ll take a while before we’re there. Talk to your boss or supervisor about this – can you take a break if you need to? If the answer is yes, use it. Take that long lunch break or cut out a few hours early one day. If the answer is no, it may be time to look elsewhere. A good employer will understand that you need to be at your best in order to perform your best, so they will work with you to make that happen. Don’t take advantage of their kindness and take a day off every other week; do have open communication with what you need to feel your best, though. We’re all very lucky that Courtney lets us take a break when we need it. She knows that in order for our company to be successful, all employees need to feel appreciated, both professionally and personally.
The most important thing is to listen to your body and know when you need a break. If you can do this, you’re on the right track. Talk to your friends and family, and if needed, a professional. You don’t know how much better you can feel by simply saying something out loud. The most important person in your life is you, so make sure you’re putting yourself first, this month and every month.