I’m writing this for anyone who is currently overwhelmed or feeling like they need to take a step back. From anything. From the internet, from your work, from your social life, from your family situation. It’s okay.
Sometimes it can be hard to take a step back from things, because it means making a commitment to look after your mental health. But these commitments are important and are not in any way a reflection on you being a bad friend, partner, or person.
It is important to take breaks when you need to, to stop yourself from reaching burnout. And it’s okay to talk about your reasons why.
You don’t need to pretend to make other people feel more comfortable. It is okay to talk openly about your mental health. Unfortunately, despite it being 2021, there is still so much stigma around mental health issues - and maybe there will be some people who don’t understand. But are these people who are worth a place in your life?
It’s good to take space to focus on what is and isn’t making you happy. Whether things in your life are right for you. Be it coming off of social media to protect your mental health, taking some sick pay from work because you are struggling with the workload, taking some space from the people who are making you feel pressured and overwhelmed.
There is absolutely nothing to feel guilty for; mental health is just as important as your physical health. You wouldn’t feel guilty or ashamed of taking time off to focus on your health if you had a broken leg. And I hate that analogy usually - but it is true and one of the best ways to open your eyes and realise just how unprioritized mental illness is for many people due to feeling it is not as important or not as valid. But it is.
For anyone who needs to take a step back at the moment but doesn’t know how, I’ve created a handy guide on how to be open and honest while protecting your feelings.
Write a letter to those you want to step back from
Whether that’s a boss or a family member or a partner, sometimes things can be best said written down, because it gives you a chance to reflect on what you’re saying and can help you to communicate properly.
Focus on the main reasons why you need a break
Make sure the break you’re taking is reflective of what you’re looking to achieve. Are you looking to rest? Then make sure you rest. Are you looking to keep your circle small? Then communicate with the people in your life to explain your reasons - ghosting hurts so it can be best to have an open and honest conversation, and you can shut it down at any time.
Don’t add any more pressure onto yourself
If you’re finding something too scary or overwhelming at the moment, maybe leave it. If you’re not ready to talk, that’s okay. It’s okay to just say you need to take a step back to protect your mental health - you don’t need to justify yourself.
Look after you
You are the most important person in this scenario, and it is okay to focus solely on yourself. Remember that you are important and valid and worthy - and you deserve space to heal and recoup.