I'm an undergraduate student (20f). I have 2 academic advisors - one in the Honors College & one in my department. I met with the Honors advisor recently to discuss study abroad and we somehow got on the topic of me not ever taking breaks. My GPA had fallen the past semester, and she warned me that if I don't start taking care of myself, I could burn out before getting my PhD (which is my goal).
I've suffered from anxiety/depression for years and recently begun to see a psychiatrist and counselor when I stopped eating, starting passing out, and developed repeated thoughts of suicide. All of that happened this past semester when I took an independent study with my Dept advisor, and I don't think he noticed. I want to be able to continue my research, so I'm trying to take care of myself. Unfortunately, that means I need to diminish my work load some.
I've been working with my Dept advisor closely for 2 years. He's helped me go to undergrad research conferences, get published, get grants etc. Always there for me academically, but the relationship's still very professional. We're officially starting my thesis work in the fall, but I told him I would start the readings this summer (halfway through the list). However, if I'm going to slow down the pace, I feel like I ought to give him reasons so he doesn't just think I'm slacking off. At the same time, I don't want to make it overly personal and make things awkward between us. He always asks how I am and it's a joke between us that I always say "tired" and he says "me too." I know that he pushes himself incredibly hard and never gives himself a break.
I would really appreciate examples of how I could word the email. I was thinking of asking him to meet some time (we're both in town over summer) to discuss and then tell him. Would it be better to do it over email? How do I tell him that I can't handle my current workload and still expect him to respect me as an academic?