How to handle your mental wellness as well as work commitments.
This week, Selena Gomez announced she was ending her world tour. The 24-year-old singer revealed a year ago she’d undergone chemotherapy to treat lupus disease: a chronic autoimmune condition when the body’s immune system becomes hyperactive and attacks normal, healthy tissue.
It’s an understatement to say Selena’s had a really challenging year. On the physical side, she had to undergo treatment. Emotionally, she had to come to terms with her diagnosis and she was also open about her battle with online haters.
Selena did what many of us secretly do – pick ourselves up and keep going.
It was inspirational watching her kick off her Revival World Tour in May – and it’s equally inspirational to see her put a hand in the air and call time out.
“I’ve discovered that anxiety, panic attacks and depression can be side effects of lupus, which can present their own challenges,” Selena said on Wednesday. “I want to be proactive and focus on maintaining my health and happiness and have decided that the best way forward is to take some time off… I know I am not alone by sharing this, I hope others will encouraged to address their own issues.”
Most of us don’t feel we can simply take time off when it becomes too much; we’re not on a world tour (unfortunately) and we’re not our own boss (dammit). We have jobs, a mortgage or rent to pay, often a partner who depends on us, and a family to support. On top of that, we pile a ridiculous pressure on ourselves to be perfect, bulletproof and invincible. Who’s genius idea was that?
If I’ve learned one thing in life, it’s that it’s absolutely crucial to maintain your sense of self and remember you are not defined by your job. As a person, you need to keep in touch with how you’re feeling and manage your own pressure cooker.
I didn’t. My blinkers were on too tight, I put one foot on the career ladder and daren’t take it off. I was obsessively focused on my career path and didn’t deal with my disastrous person life. By day I was little miss sunshine, spreadsheets, smiles and success, but when I got home my personal life was a mess.
I didn’t take holidays; I ignored my increasingly heavy sadness and didn’t learn to love myself again after I’d taken hard knocks in dark relationships. I bottled it all up, trying to self-medicate with Chardonnay, and in the end it overflowed into tears that wouldn’t stop.
Looking back, I wish I’d taken off my blinkers and remembered to take care of myself. You have to prioritise yourself. I wish I’d realised there’s never a good time to take a holiday but you should book them anyway.
You are not your job title you are a human being. You don’t have to accrue difficulties to justify needing a mental health break. Life deals us all a different hand; whether it’s a tough medical diagnosis like Selena or a trail of damaging relationship breakups. Sometimes you just know you’re not feeling right. Don’t ignore that either.
When your inner doctor knocks on your door wagging a finger, raises one eyebrow and warns you to press pause, listen.
It’s important to check in with yourself, be honest about how you’re feeling, and recharge to ensure you stay okay.
Looking after yourself is a continual process. Take a break – don’t break yourself.
Read more about mental health and first steps to feeling better on Sane.org.
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September 2, 201612:38pm