When we are physically sick it’s easy to excuse ourselves from work or other commitments – a sickness bug, a high fever or broken bones is a sign we should be resting and usually doesn’t encourage too much guilt. Yet the signs we need a mental health break aren’t as obvious to spot, and sometimes we feel we have to continue on- either due to the judgement of others or because we feel guilty or ashamed for needing a break. More is being done to break down the barriers around speaking out about poor mental health, but we still need to remember to listen to our bodies needs and treat these emotional symptoms in the same way we would physical ones.

So before experiencing a severe emotional and physical exhaustion that can lead to extreme burnout, how do we better pay attention to our wellbeing and spot the signs we need a break?

These are the 5 wellness questions you need to be asking right now:

1) Am I tired all the time?

This doesn’t mean tiredness like I stayed up too late watching Netflix and now I need an extra coffee to get through the day, but referring to disordered sleep. It is well known that stress and anxiety can lead to difficultly sleeping- which in turn encourages yet more feelings of stress and anxiety due to your body not having time to reset. The whole cycle is one of exhaustion feeding stress and stress feeding exhaustion. If this pattern of insomnia is a new, reoccurring development it may be your body indicating that you need a day or two in order to recharge.

2) Am I overly emotional?

Feeling the need to cry more than usual? Sensitive to every little thing? Feeling alone and isolated or like you are functioning on autopilot? These extreme emotional swings may be a sign you need to take some time out. Speaking to a professional can also help you determine why and what in your life is causing you to feel this way and implement practical solutions to change it.

3) Am I unfocused and unproductive?

If your concentration is suffering, you are struggling to retain information and making mistakes on the simplest of tasks it could be time to reset your batteries. Our hectic lives mean we are often burdened with pressure and unrealistic schedules, yet if we don’t take time for self-care our productivity will only continue to decrease. Taking time away from your daily routine can also help you feel refreshed once you go back to it, reducing feelings of stress and anxiety in the process.

4) Am I getting physically sick more than usual?

Even though physical and mental health are two very different subjects, they are often connected due to stress. If you have found yourself getting more sick than usual- the flu, sore throat, high fever etc. then you need to try and cut down the stress in your life. Taking a mental health break may be the best way to do this. The cells that protect us from physical illness can weaken if the stress response becomes too overwhelming, which makes us more susceptible to illness. In other words, sickness could be your bodies way of indicating you have an excessive amount of stress in your life and need a mental health break to address it.

5) What should I do if this doesn’t work?

If you try the methods above and are still struggling to see improvements in your mental health, it may be a sign you need to take a more extensive break or are already experiencing emotional burnout. Our Choices Personalized Program in Retreats, we can help. We use various modalities including cognitive behavioural therapy based (CBT) and stress management strategies that teach you to think, behave and feel differently towards stressful provoking situations. We believe both a holistic and evidence-based approach is the best treatment for both stress and burnout and that a retreat environment will provide you with a break from your current situation as well as the essential strategies you need to cope with life’s uncertainties in a more flexible and adaptable way.

If you would like to find out more about our personalized program and how we can help you, visit our website here: https://choicesretreats.com/stress-burnout/

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