Relax and stress signs

Taking a temporary break, like Rylan, could be what your mental health needs Copyright: Gustavo Frazao










Those among you who don’t follow showbiz gossip might have missed an important story recently. The story is about former X-Factor contestant turned TV presenter Rylan Clark-Neal, who has just returned to work after taking a break ‘for the good of his mental health’.

Whatever you think of Rylan isn’t relevant. The fact he’s talking about mental health and took a break for his ‘head, body and peace of mind’ is. Publicly talking about his mental health struggles is a positive, and some would say brave, thing to do as having a high-profile celebrity helps brings the issue sharply into focus.

Rylan has also gone on to talk about it further on TV and in the papers and admitted he faced a bit of a backlash on social media, with people labelling him ‘delicate’ and others saying they’d like to just be able to take a break after years of working.

Whether you share Rylan’s view or that of his detractors, he is right about a break from things being good for your mental health and wellbeing. It doesn’t have to be a few months like Rylan’s, but anything that gets you away from the pressures of work and increasingly busy family lives for a short time can have positive results.

Even a walk with the dog, going out for a meal, or reading a magazine for 10 minutes can help, especially if you’re feeling a bit low. Too many of us focus on our careers and thinking about other peoples’ lives (particularly those of us who are working parents or have elderly parents to care for) rather than ourselves. Stopping to taking time to be ourselves might be seen as selfish to some, but in fact it’s just the opposite.

Mental health issues often hide below the surface waiting for an opportunity to appear, and are made worse if you’re stressed, tired or feeling ill. Having a break to do something for yourself can stop things getting worse and mental health becoming a problem. In one of his media interviews, Rylan alludes to sometimes going to bed at 1am and getting up at 5am, so perhaps he knew this was unsustainable and decided to stop for a bit, catch up on his sleep and get some proper downtime.

If you’re serious about looking after your mental wellbeing (which you should be), ‘doing a Rylan’ could be the way forward. As we said earlier, it doesn’t have to be a long break, but you should do something that suits your lifestyle if you feel you need to.

Rylan isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, and some of the negative comments he received were about him personally. But by being so open about his reasons for having some time out, he’s shown that, although there’s still a lot of negativity around mental health and the stigma is still there, it’s important to talk about it and educate people.