EXPLAINED: How to know if your sanity needs a break

Jonah Hill is taking the “important” step of stepping back from certain professional duties for the sake of his mental health – something many of us could probably benefit from doing, when the struggles break out.

The 38-year-old Hollywood star – whose new documentary Stutz explores the subject of mental health, including her own experiences – said events and public appearances had ‘exacerbated’ her anxiety attacks.

While the ups and downs in life are normal, how do you know when it’s time to take a step back from the work front?

“We see a lot of people come to the clinic with work stress and anxiety, but when we go deeper into therapy, it’s usually part of a larger problem that needs to be addressed,” says Dr. Elena Touroni, consultant psychologist and co-founder of The Chelsea Psychology Clinic (thechelseapsychologyclinic.com).

Whether it’s anxiety attacks like Hill, burnout, depression, or something else that’s affecting your mental health, there are potentially several signs that it might be time to take a step back. on the work front…

1. Exhaustion

We’re not just talking about feeling temporarily very tired because you’ve been busy or up late. But deep, ongoing exhaustion can be a sign that your mental health needs a break.

“Burnout causes cognitive problems, so you might find that you easily lose focus in meetings or become increasingly forgetful. Your anxiety levels will increase, so you might find yourself overthinking or too preoccupied with work,” says Touroni.

“It’s normal to feel tired from time to time, but if you feel tired most of the time, or find that you don’t have the same level of energy you used to, that should serve as a warning sign. ‘major alarm.’

2. You can’t sleep

Touroni says, “Sleep should also be taken seriously, as it is a good indicator of your emotional and mental well-being.

It’s common for anxiety to spike at night, and chronic stress can also lead to difficulty relaxing and falling asleep.

“Sleep difficulties can be a sign that burnout is on the way,” adds Touroni. “This can present as problems falling asleep, not being able to stay asleep, waking up multiple times during the night, or waking up early and not being able to go back to sleep again.”

3. Relationship difficulties

When we reach our limits and become overwhelmed, it can seep into our relationships and communication with others in many ways. So keep an eye on that, Touroni says.

“For relationships to thrive, you need to create the time and space to nurture those bonds. your loved ones the attention and care they deserve,” she notes.


4. You are less productive

A tendency to overdo it is often a stressor and burnout factor. On the other hand, when we’re out of breath, “your labor productivity will likely drop,” says Touroni.

“When you work too hard it may feel like you’re doing a lot, but the reality is you can’t perform at your best when you’re exhausted and overworked.”

5. Your mood is low

Mood swings can happen in people. Although we are not designed to constantly jump for joy, a persistent bad mood, feeling down or in a bad mood can be an indicator that things are not going well.


“If you find that you are more irritable than normal and have a shorter fuse, that can also be a sign,” Touroni adds. “Mood swings and low mood are red flags to watch out for.”

What should you do next?

Of course, stepping back from work isn’t easy for everyone – not everyone has the same financial security or flexibility. When releasing her statement, Hill acknowledged, “I understand that I am one of the privileged few who can afford to take time off…I will not lose my job working on my anxiety,” adding, “J hope to succeed more normal for people to talk and act on this stuff.

Whether the outcome is being allowed time off from work for a period, setting healthier boundaries to only do what is reasonable/manageable, as well as seeking professional mental health support, you can take some action.

Talking to your GP when your mental health becomes a concern can be an important step (yes, there are long waiting lists, but this first step paves the way).

If you feel you’re headed for burnout, UKCP psychotherapist Kate Merrick says: “The best time to take action is before it happens and to take daily action that helps and strengthens you. in the face of life’s challenges. Steps that can help are mindfulness, regular breaks, exercise, talking with a therapist, eating healthy, and getting enough sleep.

Consider speaking to your line manager and checking what support is also available at your workplace, such as an employee assistance program, which can provide access to short-term confidential advice and support lines.

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