Your mental health should come before your productivity. If you need a day to rest, to reset, to recharge, that is okay. You’re allowed to sit back and breathe for a while. It doesn’t make you lazy. It doesn’t make you a slacker. It doesn’t make you a failure. It makes you human. Everyone needs to take a step back sometimes. You’re not alone in your feelings, even if it feels like you’re on an island by yourself.

Of course, taking a day for yourself isn’t always possible. If you aren’t able to lock yourself in your room and forget about your problems for a while, if you’re stuck going to work because you need the money or are out of sick days, try not to push yourself too hard. Remind yourself it’s okay if you accomplish a little less than usual. Remind yourself no one else is judging you as harshly as you’ve been judging yourself. Remind yourself you’re allowed to have an off day. No one is going to blame you for it — and if they do, you can always explain the situation from your side.

Your mental health should come before your social life. It’s okay if you need to cancel plans with friends. It’s okay if you need to back out of attending a party. It’s okay if you need a day to yourself because the thought of socializing with other people is too much for you to handle at the moment. Every once in a while, it’s okay if you need some time to yourself, because most of your friends will understand. Even if they can’t wrap their minds around the way your mind works, they will give you another chance. They won’t abandon you. They won’t let this be the end of your friendship.

Of course, you don’t want to get into the habit of canceling all of your plans. You don’t want to be a bad friend by making constant promises you fail to follow through on. If you do, some friends aren’t going to get why you need a break. They aren’t going to understand what you are going through. They aren’t going to see the cause of your behavior. They’re only going to see the way it impacts them. This might result in you losing some people along the way. You might accidentally part from people you thought would stick around forever. You might have to form a new circle of friends. Or you might try to prevent that from happening by forcing yourself to go to that party, to agree to that plan, even when it’s the last thing you want to do with your time.

Your mental health should come before everything else. Of course, that isn’t always the case. Sometimes, you aren’t able to take a day off from work. Sometimes, you aren’t able to cancel plans. Sometimes, you aren’t able to wriggle out of obligations so you can relax.

But even when you get trapped in your routine, you cannot forget about your mental health. You cannot stop taking care of yourself — even in little ways. You cannot underestimate the importance of putting yourself first because you deserve to feel okay again. TC mark


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