There are tons of reasons why you might need a mental health day. However, it all comes down to personalizing your day to give your body the rest it needs. A mental health day allows you to take a break and put your mental health first, forgetting about all of the things that stress you out on a day-to-day basis. Not exactly sure what to do on a mental health day? Here are ten ideas that will leave you recharged.
Get good sleep
Lack of sleep can have a bigger impact on your health than you’d imagine. Plus, nobody wants to be at work yawning and feeling drowsy all day. A full night’s rest has shown to work wonders on our bodies. Some benefits include:
- Stronger immune system and physical health
- Boosted metabolism and helps prevent weight gain
- Increased mood and productivity
Start your mental health day with a good night’s sleep to set yourself up for a productive day ahead.
Do something creative
Find something creative that inspires you, whether that is painting, drawing, music, or writing. It can be anything, as long as it clears your mind and allows you to be creative. If you’re feeling fatigued from your usual workload, this will give you the chance to create something freely without any judgment.
On another note, try doing something that you have never done before. This is a good mental exercise if you feel stuck at work or want a funny memory to look back on.
Clean your home
A clean house leads to a clean mind. Let some natural light in and turn on your favorite album while cleaning your home to create a soothing environment where you can enjoy your day. Cleaning is therapeutic, often giving you the feeling of a reset as you can clear both your mind and unwanted clutter in the house. Cleaning in the morning will allow you to be level headed throughout the day and encourage you to try more difficult tasks as the day goes on.
Eat a healthy breakfast
Eating a nutritious, well-balanced breakfast has shown to support our health and well-being in a variety of ways. Some of these benefits include:
- Fueling your body with energy and your mind with creativity
- Boosted mood and mental performance throughout the day
- Decreased levels of stress and depression
- Can help with weight loss
Fuel and nutrition is the key to a well-balanced breakfast, which is why many nutritionists recommend pairing carbs with proteins for your first meal of the day. This can be as simple as whole-grain cereal, fresh fruit, and low-fat milk or yogurt. Your energized mind and body will thank you.
Get in a morning workout
While it may or may not fit into your daily routine throughout the week, we recommend getting in an early sweat session on your mental health day. If you’re still feeling full from breakfast, maybe try to avoid heavy cardio and stick with something less intense, like stretching or yoga, to help loosen up your muscles. Practicing stimulating yet simple exercises in the morning has shown to lower your heart rate and blood pressure while increasing your overall productiveness throughout the day.
Socialize with people
Reach out to your friends and family. They’ll be glad you did. It can be difficult to stay connected with your loved ones while trying to balance out your week. Take the time to catch up with your family or go on a bike ride with one of your buddies. The pandemic and social distancing have made it even more difficult to stay in touch with friends and family, but it’s important to know that regular human contact plays a huge part in being mentally well. If you currently don’t have anyone to connect with, know that there are people in the same situation as you looking to meet others. Engage in a group activity or something that interests you to connect with new people.
This mental health day is for you, and it’s perfectly okay if you want to spend it doing absolutely nothing but relaxing. If you aren’t necessarily liking the idea of a strategically planned mental health day, then practice self care in whatever small ways you can manage. Resist the urge to check your email or Slack notifications, and make sure you are completely unplugged from work. Use this time to spend the day doing things that make you happy, and remind yourself that you deserve a break.
Enjoy the outdoors
Spending time outdoors can function as a natural medicine for your body, helping alleviate stress, anxiety, and depression for many people. We know it can be difficult to find the time or place to comfortably spend time outdoors throughout the week with a busy schedule, but even taking a few short walks around the neighborhood throughout the day will greatly benefit your mental and physical health. Take your dog to his favorite park and enjoy nature together.
Tackle your emotional work
Take some time to think about the emotional issues and daily anxieties you’ve been facing. Planning ahead on how you’d like to handle certain situations when they arise will overall leave you better prepared and less stressed out. Knock out some of the more challenging things on your to-do list after a healthy breakfast and morning workout while your brain is fueled. Challenging yourself leaves you with a feeling of great achievement, which is a huge boost to your mental health.
Eat a light dinner and unwind
Eat a light dinner that’s not going to leave you feeling drowsy while you settle down for the night. According to a therapist, eating less at night helps you get better rest and feel more balanced energy-wise. Spend some time with your family, read your favorite book in the bathtub, or watch that new show that you just can’t get enough of. Use this time to reflect on your mental health day, and write down some of the positives that stuck with you. This can be encouraging and reminds you why mental health days are so important for us.