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Mental health experts emphasize the value of taking breaks from work

St. Joseph News-Press - 5/29/2024

May 29—Stepping out of the workplace and onto a beach — or even just into a pair of slippers — can help refresh your headspace and improve your mental health.

Drew Fisher, a counselor with Fisher Counseling Services, spoke about the importance of taking breaks for self-care and vacations when possible.

"Just life in general is just busy and hectic, it's good to really recognize, let's do some self-care," Fisher said. "Take a break from projects especially, sometimes we can find ourselves in ruts or stuck on a problem, it's good to take a moment."

It can be difficult to move away from the stressor itself when it's coming from a computer or phone, but taking time away to enjoy other interests is important.

"Taking a step back and just reflecting, what are things that add value to your life," Fisher said. "What are things we enjoy? It could be reading, listening to a song, even coloring."

At Samaritan Counseling Center, therapist Joyce Estes also emphasized the value breaks and vacations can bring.

"I think they are very important. Especially nowadays just because people take work so seriously and they work so hard," Estes said. "So many hours and families and raise kids. Seems like busy, busy, busy all the time and no break."

While on vacation, she encouraged people to leave the work behind.

"It's important not to take the work with you," Estes said. "Leave your laptop at home, try to turn your phone off as much as possible. Stay off anything work-related."

Oftentimes, people come back from vacations feeling refreshed and more ready for work, she said.

"Physically and mentally, they are not as depressed not as stressed or anxious," Estes said. "A lot of time it will help reduce blood pressure. Headaches, all those aches and pains that people have don't get enough sleep a lot of times."

Outside of the professionals, one St Joseph resident said stepping away from work plays a role in positive mental health.

"Oh, it's a big factor," Danny Blanchard said. "Nice to get a break and get away from things and do something you really enjoy."

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