Signs you need to take a break

by - October 11, 2020

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I’m always on the lookout for signs that I need to take a break or pause. Spotting the warning signs early on can be so beneficial and avoid burnout or feeling very overwhelmed afterwards. Over the years, these are the signs I’ve spotted in my case that indicate that things are not okay, or at least not the way they should be and I need to take time for myself. Signs will look slightly different for everyone, but if you resonate with any of these, first of all, I am sending you virtual hugs and secondly, please take time to look after yourself. You matter - don’t be afraid to reach out if you need support.

I hope that reading this will encourage you to slow down and look out for your warning signs. Remember to take care of your mental health, give yourself some love, especially if you relate to any one of them at the moment. Stop, take it in and do what you need to do to get back on track. Whether that be journaling/ keeping a diary, a social media break, a To Do list, a list of problems and your solutions, speaking to a psychologist. Your mental health is lifelong and everything you do depends on it - the rest can wait.


  1. I don’t have ‘time’ for self-care. You shouldn’t ever run out of ‘time’ for self-care. Looking after yourself should never be a second priority- in fact, everything you do and you solving whatever you’re up stressing about / working on depends on you looking after yourself. If you are helping someone else and carrying that weight, that again also depends on you looking out for yourself and making sure you're OK. You can't pour from an empty cup. The irony about feeling like you no longer have time for self-care is that it is then more than ever, when you probably need it the most. Self-care will look different to everyone, but will be something that allows you to reconnect with yourself and enjoy yourself. A break from the stresses and of life.

  2. You are finding yourself withdrawing from others, particularly those that care about you. I am very guilty of doing this myself despite the fact it is so counterproductive. Reaching out can be scary, but it is always so worth it. You don’t have to go through anything alone.

  3. Feeling like people don’t really care/ take an interest in you. Trust me, there is someone that cares about you and how you feel- loneliness can make you feel like that is not the case. The thing is not a lot of people are observant, it can be difficult to always accurately read others’ feelings and people are too consumed/ busy with their lives to notice if something is not right. If you don’t say anything, people may not necessarily be able to work out that you are not feeling yourself.

  4. Sleep - you are having nightmares or struggling to sleep because you are worried. Dreams can be a good indicator at times at what you are subconsciously stressing about or pressure you may be placing on yourself unknowingly. I know my dreams have been insightful at points in helping me work out some feelings I had been pushing to the back of my mind. Sometimes it can also be feeling like you need more sleep and don’t have the motivation to get up. *If you have been struggling to find the motivation to get up, sleeping a lot more or significantly less than usual for an extended period of time, please visit your GP/ consider going to a counsellor. It could be that you are struggling with depression or generally with your mental health.

  5. Food habits - when I am going through a difficult period or more stressed, I tend to generally be less hungry. This might look slightly different for everyone, but a drastic change in eating habits suggests something isn’t quite right.

  6. Waking up feeling exhausted or anxious. This is your body’s way of telling you it is reaching its limit and you need to take time off.

  7. Generally having less energy - you are not in the mood to do anything. Even activities you would usually enjoy seem more like a chore.

  8. You feel like your input doesn’t really matter and that you are not in control of anything in your surroundings. You feel like what you do does not make a difference and that you are stuck.

These are all signs (I don’t necessarily always have them at the same time) that for me signal I need to focus on myself more, talk to others and seek support from people who care about me. It is normal to have low points, but that is when we need to be open to asking for help and remember that wellbeing comes first. Your mental health is lifelong and investing time in looking after you will never be time badly spent.

If you are generally really struggling to cope or have more serious signs, such as thinking about wanting to harm yourself in any way shape or form, please talk to someone. Even if you are not putting those thoughts into action, it is something you should have support for. Left unaddressed, they can escalate and get worse if you don’t seek help. We all have low moments and a lot of the time, they can feel the most lonely. But, you don’t have to go through them alone and I promise there will be someone out there that will try and understand and that can offer you support. Taking that time for yourself will always be worth it, and it is important to look out for the warnings that indicate we need to pay more attention to our wellbeing. 

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