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Inspired by Shawn Mendes, Here's How You Can Take a Mental Health Break From Work

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ICYMI, Shawn Mendes has pushed back a leg of his tour due to mental health struggles associated with being on the road, at the advice of his professional and medical team. 

He posted this on Instagram.

It reads: 

This breaks my heart to have to say this, but unfortunately I’m going to have to postpone the next three weeks of shows through Uncasville, CT until further notice. I’ve been touring since I was 15 and to be honest it’s always been difficult to be on the road away from friends and family. After a few years off the road, I felt like I was ready to dive back in, but that decision was premature and unfortunately the toll of the road and the pressure has caught up to me and I’ve hit a breaking point. After speaking with my team and health professionals, I need to take some time to heal and take care of myself and my mental health, first and foremost. As soon as there are more updates I promise I will let you know love you guys.”

It’s so important for Shawn to do this and sets such a major example not just for other performers, but for everyone who struggles with balancing work and mental health.

We live in a world where in order to survive, we need to make a certain income, and that’s becoming harder to do by the day. For many people, showing up to work for a single day can be the difference of whether or not they are able to get groceries and food for the week. It’s for this reason so many people push themselves to extreme, unsustainable, and unhealthy levels showing up when they’re extremely burnt out. When so much is on the line, it’s hard to draw a line in the sand and say “I can’t,” but that’s what he did and I like to think even for those of us who struggle to do the same, that maybe there’s some way we can too.

It’s hard to advocate for ourselves and take a break from work when we don’t feel like we can, but there are ways to do it and other ways to potentially support yourself if your income will be impacted:

1. First, come to terms that you’re not a bad person for needing time to yourself.

As mentioned, Shawn didn’t receive the best response from some fans when he announced this break. It’s easy to feel like, especially in work environments, that you’re not being a good coworker if you need time off because things will pile on other coworker’s plates. 

You are not responsible for that, or any staffing issues. It’s management’s responsibility to make sure they’re adequately staffed and things are accounted for. Not yours.

2. Make a list of your needs versus your current capabilities.

When you’re operating from a not great mental health space, or a place of burnout, prioritizing your needs is important. What absolutely needs to get done, or what do you need to survive, versus what would you like?

But and also, sometimes we just don’t have the energy to do what we need to do for ourselves, so being keenly aware of what you can and can’t do is also incredibly important.

Maybe your needs are that the dog needs to be walked, groceries need to get picked up, and you’d need a solid $150 to take how many days off. 

Let’s say you have no energy to even get out of bed, and no savings set up. Now you can figure out a slight action plan. Maybe that’s calling friends and family to help out when it comes to cooking a meal or taking care of the animals. Maybe you can ask them for financial help or find another way to scrounge up that money. It gives you a starting point which is crucial.

3. If money is an issue, consider mutual aid or publicly asking for help.

If pride and hyper independence are the demons that you fight, then this may be a little tougher for you, but people out there want to help you. They want to love on you. They want to make sure that your needs are met. Maybe this will look like gift cards, PayPal and CashApp gifts, or something else. Regardless, don’t be afraid to be honest and ask for help from others.

As mentioned, taking time off for yourself can be a bear, but it’s needed and it doesn’t make you a bad person.

Follow Shawn Mendes’ lead and advocate for yourself and your wellbeing, especially in the workplace. I know I’ll be. 

Lead image courtesy of Shawn Mendes’ Instagram.

Originally published: July 13, 2022
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