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  • Morgan Bailee Boggess McCoy, MSW

Taking a Break: Why Mental Rest is Important

Between the constant ding of text messages, Facebook, Instagram, and email notifications, we’re always connected. We live in a society that encourages us to constantly do more, regardless of the impact on our bodies. Sometimes, it’s essential to take a rest – but more importantly, a mental rest.


Giving Your Brain a Break

Mental rest is giving your mind time to be free from constant screen time, connecting with others, and pressure to be on the go all the time. It means to focus on the present, similar to the concepts of meditation – which can be a great tool to use during a mental rest. During this time, you remove negative, stressful, and anxiety-inducing thoughts from your mind and refresh your mental space.


Forget the Fear of Missing Out

At first, it can be hard to mentally rest because you might feel like you’re missing out on the latest news or opportunities with others. However, don’t let the fear of missing out, or FOMO, get to you. Taking a mental break means that you can set aside time for yourself, letting go of the expectations that may have been placed on you.


Prolonged Blue Light Exposure Affects Your Sleep

Part of mental rest is taking a break from blue light. If you have a job that requires you to look at a screen for long periods, or if you use your phone, tablet, or laptop frequently, you may notice a change in your sleep patterns. According to researchers at the Sleep Foundation, because blue light activates the part of our brains that causes us to feel alert, it alters our circadian rhythms by elevating our heart rate and temperature – especially when the prolonged exposure to blue light is in the evening. It also slows down the body’s melatonin production, which makes us tired. The combination of these factors means that the sleep cycles that our brains depend on are “off.”


Your Health Depends on It

Many people think that their physical and mental health are entirely separate things with different priorities. That isn’t true, though. If you don’t take care of your physical health, your mental health will undoubtedly suffer – and vice versa. People who have mental health conditions like anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or any sort of substance use disorder could experience any of the following:

  • Increased inflammation

  • Chronic fatigue

  • Heart rate increase or decrease

  • Change in blood circulation

  • Abnormalities in stress hormones

  • Trouble sleeping

  • Higher risk for conditions like diabetes

Physical health conditions can also cause these things and have more complicated problems with your mental health. Because there is such a significant risk for both your physical and mental health, you must take care of both simultaneously by giving yourself a mental (and physical) rest.


Improving Your Life

Not only is it important to take a mental rest regularly, but it also can make a huge difference in your quality of life. When thinking about ways to take a mental rest, think about what things bring you joy. A mental break can also mean that you simply relax without distraction. Some more examples are:

  • Taking a break from social media

  • Enjoying your favorite food or drink

  • Practicing meditation

  • Reading a book

  • Journaling

  • Any physical activity


Going to therapy can help you develop the skills you need to clear your mind for mental rest. We offer a wide variety of therapy, case management, and career services that can help alleviate some of the stress you may be experiencing. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!



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