Oh hey, remember me? It’s no secret that we’ve collectively had an overwhelming year. Between the irresponsible handling of the pandemic, economic distress, and brutality leading to protests, this year has been one that I can only describe in one word: exhausting. You may have noticed that, outside of Pinterest, I’ve been away from pretty much everything related to the blog these last few months. Truth be told, I didn’t intend to take a mental health break for more than a few weeks. Back in April, I wanted to break just long enough to get through finals week of my spring semester. I managed to walk out of my first semester of grad school with a 4.0 GPA despite all the chaos, so the mental health break paid off!
Despite my short-term intentions, it seemed like the bad news was never-ending. On top of that, the stay home orders in early Spring left me feeling uneasy about taking outfit pictures in public places. I originally shot an at-home look and even considered going back to the old-school outfit pics on my balcony. Surely, I could revert back to that in the meantime, right? Well, the news had other plans. To be honest, it felt a bit tone-deaf to publish fashion content during the pandemic–especially in the early days. I’ve witnessed several people lose their jobs during this time, and the last thing I felt like writing about was the latest trends to wear, no matter how much I loved Zara’s latest collection. It honestly still feels a little odd, but I recognize that content that isn’t news-related is a bit of a relief for many of us. In fact, you may find yourself doing even more online shopping—I certainly have!
Let’s Chat About Social Media
From a social media perspective, I’ve been a bit turned off from the blogging side of Instagram. Everything going on pretty much accelerated my desire to take a break from the platform. I’ll definitely return, but for now, I’m enjoying the break from social media influencer culture. As someone who had written content before social media was introduced, it can sometimes feel exhausting having to put so much energy into platforms that you don’t own. Not only because you lose that content if they were to shut down (hello, Vine!), but also because our goals feel contradictory. Platforms want to keep the audience in their app and content creators want to move that audience to their website. It’s a tough predicament and can feel like you’re burning the candle at both ends, but that’s a conversation for another day.
When things are no longer fun, it’s time to step away–either temporarily or permanently so you can come back with renewed focus and motivation. That’s what I’m doing with the social media apps that don’t serve the current phase that I’m in. Seeing how many influencers were using their platform to highlight their lack of safety during a pandemic, stage photo opportunities at police brutality protests, or completely ignore the real situations happening all for the sake of “staying on brand” just rubbed me the wrong way. It’s disappointing but not at all surprising, and definitely contributed to the length of time I’ve been away from my blog’s Instagram account.
I realize that I’m rambling a bit, but I hope that you take something from the bit of transparency in this post. While this post is certainly therapeutic for me, I didn’t want to treat it solely as a venting session. The remainder of this post focuses on the things that I discovered through my extended mental health break. If you are contemplating taking a mental health break from social media, the news, certain relationships, or whatever your heart is growing weary from, I’m here to tell you it’s okay. In fact, it’s actually necessary to take a break when you’re either starting to feel drained or what you’re doing feels like a chore and not a joy. After my seasonal break from the blog, I thought now would be the best time to reflect on what I gained from the time away. Let this post encourage you to step back if you’re feeling overwhelmed.
Three Things A Mental Health Break Can Bring
A Mental Health Break Brings Clarity
Have you ever felt like you were doing things just because it’s familiar and not because you find joy in it? If you answered yes, it’s time to pivot. Let’s say you have been feeling an internal pull to do something different. Maybe you’re entering a new phase of your life, and you aren’t quite sure what that phase is yet. Without taking a break from your old routine, you’re prolonging the growth phase. Taking a break from things that may feel stagnant can highlight their value (or lack thereof) in your life.
Take my social media break as proof of concept. For the current goal of my blog, I don’t need to put a lot of energy into social media. I know that I will need it in the future for a different purpose, but that clarity only came after I truly stopped doing the day-to-day social posts. Give yourself time to see what should stick, and what should leave. Remember, a break is simply that. It doesn’t mean you have to stop it forever, but taking that mental health break will help you see if you should.
Mental Health Breaks Can Restore Your Motivation
On the flip side, a mental health break can also reinvigorate you. I’ll continue using social media as an example because I see the desire for social breaks increasing across the general public. The break I’m coming back from now allowed me to center my focus and become reacquainted with my goals. In previous social breaks, they resulted in a renewed sense of motivation. When I used to intern as a social media manager, I found that my burnout tolerance was extremely low. On my blog account, I would take more frequent breaks. At that point, I still enjoyed posting content on Instagram and found it fun to share pictures on places outside of my blog. But, that isn’t to say that it wasn’t exhausting. When I took a mental health break, I still had the desire to post on social media. In fact, I felt renewed and excited! A break can get you pumped to return, so don’t be afraid to step away from what’s causing you burnout.
A Break Provides Time to Rest
Lastly, breaks are necessary for all aspects of life because you need time to rest and recover. Rest breaks are most apparent in gym examples. No matter who you seek fitness advice from, their workout plans will always include a rest day. Why? So your muscles can recover. You have to give your body a chance to rest to prevent the burnout we talked about earlier. Without sleep, your productivity goes down. Think about how tired you’d feel after pulling an all-nighter. Your brain isn’t operating at its peak, and that’s because you didn’t rest. With social media, a break gives you time to rest from your routine of actively posting content. That rest period prevents burnout, which is what we should all strive to avoid.
Looking for something to do while you’re on a break? Read: 5 Fun Ways to Fill Your Time at Home
To recap, here’s what you should takeaway:
- Take breaks from anything that is exhausting or no longer serves you.
- Breaks can provide clarity and restore your motivation.
- Mental health breaks are necessary so your mind can rest and recover.
I hope you all enjoyed this post and will take it to heart. I love writing about fashion and sharing the latest trends, but I wanted to kick-off my return with a bit of this life update and reflection. Next up, we’re switching gears and prepping for the Nordstrom anniversary sale!
As always, thank you for your continued support over the years. Chat with you soon!
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