How To Take A Mental Health Day
The universe constantly strives for balance.
Scientific theories about the universe state that, “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” There is a continual tug and pull. The same proves true for mental health care. Positive self-care helps balance out your mental state and your overall health. Sometimes you just need a break!
Don’t guilt yourself into pushing through things if you’re hitting a wall. Instead, take time off for yourself. You can’t expect yourself to be at 100% all the time. A mental health day may be just what you need to reset and relax. If you push through it, you may risk burning out.
Today, a lot of workplaces have begun to encourage employees to take mental health days away from work. Employers know that happier workers equate to higher productivity levels. Some companies even offer free yoga classes or meditation sessions throughout the work day and week. It’s all about balance.
You know you’re in need of a break if:
- You have trouble concentrating.
- You have feelings of sadness or depression.
- You are easy to anger.
- Your patience is limited.
- You have been feeling under the weather or ill a lot lately.
- You feel as though you are in a bit of a fog.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines burnout as “exhaustion of physical or emotional strength or motivation, usually as a result of prolonged stress or frustration.” It can lead to negative effects such as anatomical changes in the structure of the brain. Chronic stress can also cause high blood pressure, a heart attack, or even a stroke.
Mental health care is important., a fact that is becoming more evident in today’s fast-paced society.
So, How Can You Take a Mental Health Day?
First, decide what it is you need. Do you need to relax? Do you lack fun or adventure in your life? Are you in need of some much-needed me-time?
How you spend your mental health day may depend on why you need to take one. If you’re stressed, you need to relax. If you’ve been feeling sad, you might consider setting out on an adventure of some sort (even if that adventure is just to the bathroom to take your first shower in a few days).
Do whatever you need to do. You know yourself best, so indulge in what makes you happy. This day is all about you.
It might be tempting to eat an entire box of Oreos to make yourself feel better, but try to avoid unhealthy activities. Maybe disconnect from technology for the day. Unplug and reset. Turn off your phone, laptop, and T.V. Dive into your mental, spiritual, or creative side. Sometimes you just need a good detox. Sometimes technology adds stress, stress that you just don’t need.
So then, how should you spend a mental health day? How can you reset, refresh, and return to work feeling rejuvenated?
Here are some easy and satisfying ways you can spend the day to improve your mental health.
Catch Up on Some Sleep
Sleep deprivation is a serious issue. Sometimes when we are overtired, we become stressed, or vice versa. Important cognitive and physical repairs take place during our sleeping hours. Turn off that alarm and sleep as long as your heart desires.
Today is your day. Sleep till noon; no one is going to tell you differently.
Wake up slow. Then, enjoy your day with an activity you know and love! You may experience more clarity and feel less stressed upon your return to work the next day.
Go for a Hike
Physical activity produces endorphins in our brains, making us feel good. Nature is further proven to help improve your mental health. Nature helps us de-stress, improves our sleep, and can aid you in reconnecting with your inner self.
Look up a local trail map. Plan your route ahead of time. Grab your water and some snacks, and then head out on an adventure, solo or with a friend who needs to take a mental health day of their own.
Spending time among forestry and greenery may be the breath of fresh air you’ve been craving, literally! It gives you time to enjoy the beauty this world has to offer, getting you out of your own head long enough for you to gain some perspective and let go of what’s been bothering you.
Like sleep, you don’t need all day to meditate. However, it can help you relax.
Meditation is the practice of focusing on a particular object, thought, or activity to achieve mental clarity and emotional stability.
Many celebrities and entrepreneurs include meditation in their daily routines. It can calm the mind, help you become more present in the moment, and aid you in becoming more mindful of the world around you.
We often worry about past events or things that haven’t happened yet. Our minds are often set in anywhere but the present, where they should be. We tend to forget about the present moment. Meditation reminds us of the now. It resets our centre and our mental state.
If you are new to meditation, try a 5-10 minute guided session. Phone apps, such as Headspace or Insight Timer, offer easy and accessible ways to meditate. Start today and begin incorporating meditation into your life! It takes practice, but the benefits are totally worth it.
The average person has over 60 000 thoughts per day. Creative tasks use a different part of our brains. They bring your attention and thoughts to the task at hand. Creativity also causes the brain to release dopamine. Dopamine can help combat depression and uplift your mood.
So what are ways you can get creative? Paint, draw, bake, cook, garden, write, sew, challenge yourself to a crossword puzzle, finally redecorate your house or apartment, or take photos. There are so many options. Choose what you enjoy the most.
Take a Long Bath
If you have slept in, do this when you wake up. Or, have your own at-home spa day! Throw on a face mask, light some candles, play relaxing music, and detox in a warm bath.
A warm bath can relax your muscles and in turn, alleviate stress. Just chill out and enjoy it.
Life has a funny way of making us feel like we have no time. Take this time for yourself. Do not feel guilty about it. You need this. You deserve this.
Book a Massage
Treat yourself. Allow yourself to relax in someone else’s hands for an hour or so. Close your eyes and let your massage therapist do the work. Let them know where you feel tension so they can work to alleviate it.
When we’re stressed, our muscles become tight and tension builds in our tissues. A good massage can help relieve this. It’s tough for your mind to stay healthy when your body feels like it’s fighting against you.
Take Yourself Out for a Meal
Have you been in desperate need of some alone time? Take yourself out on a date for a meal at your favourite cafe or restaurant. Savour each bite of food. It is surprisingly quite nice to take yourself out for lunch or dinner. It gives you time to think and time to enjoy each and every bite. You might feel silly at first, but trust us. Relax into it, and you’ll find it feels good!
Spend Quality Time with Family or Friends
Maybe you’ve had enough, or too much alone time. Maybe you need to socialize and reconnect. Call that aunt you’ve been neglecting, or that friend you’ve been meaning to catch up with.
Don’t force it though. Remember, this day is about you. Do what makes you happy. If that includes sharing a laugh with a friend, then go for it!
A mental health day may differ from person to person. It comes down to what you need to reset and de-stress. Everybody is different.
Put your mental health care first. You deserve it. Don’t fool yourself into thinking differently. Balance is important. Once you start taking care of yourself, you can bring your best to every part of your life. Take that time to reset and refresh your mind.
Related Article: Your Anxiety Can Come From Your Environment: How to Release it