Regardless of the job category or location, every job tends to affect mental health and vice versa. Luckily, taking a career break is one of the more effective choices for preserving and improving mental well-being.
A career break is an unpaid, purposeful leave from work for diverse reasons. The duration of a career break is specific to the individual. Generally, it depends on why time off work is required. It can be for any length of time, from 2 months onwards. Unlike a sabbatical, where one can quickly return to work after a few weeks to find an accumulation of work waiting, a career break sometimes entails resigning altogether.
A work environment characterized by gossip, discrimination, favoritism, tension, and employee burnout is toxic and can be draining and unhealthy. Therefore, taking a career break from a toxic work environment or generally recovering from physical and mental stress is never a bad idea.
Although there seems to be a stigma associated with taking a career break for mental health reasons, it is crucial to prioritize your health over your career. , and it's nothing to be ashamed of.
In 2021, Mental Health America researched workplace environments and employee mental health well-being. They surveyed over 5000 employees across 17 countries and reported that 83% of participants were emotionally drained from work. About 72% strongly agreed that their work affects their mental health.
Many people are stuck in work situations that are detrimental to their mental health leading to employee burnout, stress, and depression. A common worry, however, is the discrimination attached to taking a career break for mental health. This worry includes the impression that explaining gap years in a resume to prospective employers is challenging.
Mental health is equally as important, if not more, than physical health. It is beneficial to look for signs that it's time to make changes at work or seek professional help. Experiencing a decline in productivity at the workplace or loss of interest in work activities usually indicates that something is off.
An even bigger warning sign that work is affecting mental health is if the idea of work dampens one's mood or begins to damage personal relationships. Dealing with burnout before it escalates or leads to further health consequences is always recommended.
In this age of unprecedented stress, many people still refuse to consider taking time out to facilitate good mental health. Regardless, a career break has the potential to have life-changing effects on mental well-being and quality of life.
A career break lends time to rest and recuperate before returning to work in a positive environment. During this period, the goal is to prioritize good health and happiness. Not having to worry about meeting a deadline, waking up at dawn or getting chewed out at meetings can fare well for mental health.
Also, taking a career break can prompt seeing life from a different perspective. It provides some necessary detachment from constant work life. It is often easy to get engrossed in one's profession and live on autopilot, constantly working and toiling.
Without work stress and enough spare time, it is easier to focus all time and energy solely on taking care of one's mental health. The time taken off work can be used for personal development, more quality time with family, or starting a passion-driven project. Engaging with hobbies you enjoy will give you a fresh outlook on life.
Many rekindle their passion for something they loved when they were younger but lost sight of due to the lack of time.
Moreover, a career break gives the space to think creatively. It's difficult to think creatively or be inspired to do one's job if the brain is exhausted. Humans need space to reflect, away from their workplace tension, for natural creative juices to flow. A career break can also open a world of new opportunities and possibilities.
Taking a step back from work for your mental well-being is a bold decision. However, to make it work, it is crucial to seek support. It is important to confide in a trusted friend, mentor, co-worker, peer group or therapist. With a supportive person ready to lend a listening ear, it is easier to develop a game plan to improve work life and mental well-being.
While a career break is a time to rest, It is also a time to engage in transformational activities. Whether it's scheduling regular visits to a therapist, journaling or meditating. These activities facilitate quick recovery and let you resume work with a healthier mindset.
The idea of stepping out of your comfort zone of a current job or source of income can be scary. It's normal to feel such fear or apprehension. In dealing with this fear, It's OK to be open and admit these struggles to people who are trustworthy confidantes.
Ultimately, one's value and worthiness as a human being are separate from career productivity or evaluation by others.
At Bloom Clinical Care Counseling and Therapy Services, we are Social Workers registered with the OCSWSSW. We have 25+ years of experience in supporting people experiencing grief & bereavement, depression, anxiety, guilt, anger, low self-esteem, stress, relationship issues and other mental health challenges. We do not require any referrals and are always welcoming new clients.
If you are looking for therapists near you in Toronto, Bloom Clinical Care is located at 1200 Markham Road, Suite 306C, M1H 3C3. We also offer virtual therapy options by phone or video call across Ontario. Help is available, and we may be able to help
Let us help you, help yourself.