Mental Health Mondays: Taking a Break

We are not mental health professionals. If you are feeling overwhelmed with emotions like anxiety or depression, or they are impacting your daily life, please reach out to professionals who can help you. If you need immediate help, use the National Suicide Hotline, 1-800-273-8255, which offers online chats as well. Jewish Community Services also offer help to people experiencing emotional crises.

We aim to provide some tips and guides to help those who are self-isolating and to connect with our JMM community. These ideas might not work for everyone, but we hope that by starting the conversation about mental health, we can inspire you to take a moment to breathe and reflect on what you need today to feel good.

Breaks are important. They help us to refocus and recharge. Taking a break can help you escape a certain mindset, find perspective, and make time to reflect. Whether you’re taking a break from social media, taking a few days off from work, or finding times throughout your busy day to relax, we encourage you to take the time for yourself. In fact, we’ll be doing the same.

In this black and white image, a woman in a bathing suit, a hat, and a towel around her shoulders reclines in a folding chair on the beach. There are other people on the beach in the background of the image, also dressed in bathing suits and costumes.
Even if it’s not safe to visit the beach right now, laying outside and catching some sun can do wonders for your mood and creativity. JMM 1993.59.16.1

Taking just five minutes to move around during your workday can have huge benefits. Getting enough exercise throughout the week is important to maintaining physical health, but it can also help lift your mood and allow you to return to work feeling refreshed and happy. Just getting a brain break from the projects you’re working on can help you to be more productive, as this study suggests.

There have been many different conversations about how workers can be more productive and tools for people to use. A common method is the Pomodoro Method, developed by Francesco Cirillo in the ‘80s. This method calls for setting a timer (or using one of the dedicated apps for this method available on your smartphone) for 25 minutes of work on a specific task. After focusing for 25 minutes, you take a 5-minute break. You repeat this process four times, you take a longer 10-15-minute break. Of course, you can also adapt this system of focus times and short breaks to whatever you need to get done during your day. But those breaks are essential for your brain to relax and actually absorb the information you’re working with.

A red tomato shaped kitchen timer. It has numbers written on it to show how much time is left on the timer.
The Pomodoro method is named after the tomato timer that Cirillo used as a student.

There are many more ways to incorporate breaks into your daily life or for an upcoming chance to relax. Your health should be your priority, and having the opportunity to recharge will allow you to tackle challenges even better!

As we continue creating online content and plan for the future reopening of JMM, we’ve decided to take a break from our regular MHM blog posts, as well as our Voter Education posts. It doesn’t mean we’ll never return to each series, and in fact, we’ll probably pepper in a few mental health tips on our Facebook and Twitter, but we’re going to pause on our longer posts for now.

If you have any mental health tips to share with others, please let us know! And if you have topics in mind for when we return to the series, send them our way. We love hearing from you and helping everyone to find connections and growth.


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