When to take a break?

Some of us have two conflicting internal messages when it comes to managing something we are finding difficult. We must try our hardest, do our best, and never give up, but we also know that we should ease off the gas, take a break and ask for help if we are cracking under the pressure. Continuing under too much strain can become paralysing, cause anxiety and lead to stress related illnesses.


But how do we know if we just need to try a bit harder, or put something on hold and take a moment for recuperation? When the answer is the need to slow down, it often it takes someone close to point out that perhaps we should take a break. It’s generally difficult advice to listen to and we can be resistant to it.

The old cliché, ‘if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again,’ is something that we can all recall, but we’ve also heard ‘don’t beat your head against a brick wall.’ 

Deciding that you need a break or finally accepting your loved ones’ advice can lead to feelings of guilt. Guilt that we haven’t been able to cope, that we are giving up and that we are weak. Telling ourselves that ‘everyone else can manage, why can’t I?’ This internal pressure and negative self-talk makes the break hardly a rest at all.

Having the confidence and belief in the choice to ease off the gas when the pressure gets too much and not critique ourselves for our inability to cope can be difficult. Even though this is often advice we so easily repeat to friends. We know that pressure gets to people, yet for someone reason when it gets to ourselves it’s unacceptable not to be strong enough to deal with it. So, we persevere until our bodies give us a signal. 

I see many clients who come to me for issues relating to prolonged stress, such as panic attacks and procrastination. They have got to the stage where they need help, either because they can’t identify what their stressors are, or they refuse to accept them.

Taking a guilt free break, finding a work life balance and truly switching off from life’s stressors regularly are vitally important to mental wellbeing. According to the HSE 57% of work days lost were due to stress and anxiety. Finding that balance between perseverance and burnout is perhaps a learning curve, trial and error and hopefully something we can all get to understand about ourselves.

If you would like help coping with stress and anxiety, please get in touch via my contact page.