LIFE

Give Yourself A Mental Health Day With These 10 Easy Steps

by Laura Caseley
Laura is a writer, illustrator, and artist living in New York City.

It happens to all of us.

We get caught up in so many things — work, friends, family, and whatever else — that we sometimes forget that we need care ourselves.

And then suddenly, it seems like you can’t focus on even the smallest things. Maybe you’re having trouble sleeping, or you’re having escapist fantasies, or maybe you just feel like there’s a big weight on you that you just can’t shrug off.

While you might just think you’re getting lazy, hold on a minute. Maybe what you actually need is a break.

Working nonstop is glamorized, but actually, we’re not really designed to do that.

Just like studies show that letting your mind wander in a daydream is actually great for problem solving and creativity, taking a day to regroup and reset is just as beneficial.

Consider it a way to hack your current working system and reset it for the better.

But, you say, I can’t possibly just drop everything for a day. I have too much!

Listen up: yes, you can. Follow these steps, and learn how to responsibly take a mental health day that will leave you feeling relaxed and ready to go. Trust us.

How To Enjoy A Mental Health Day
Step 1: Take Some Time For Yourself

<u>How To Enjoy A Mental Health Day</u><br>Step 1: Take Some Time For Yourself
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You might be used to being responsible all the time, at work, at home, and for other people. And that’s great!

But you also need to take care of yourself, and you shouldn’t feel the need to apologize for that.

Looking out for your own well-being is not a bad thing. In fact, if you want to continue caring for others, you need to make sure that you can. And that means that you need to take care of yourself.

Step 2: Plan Ahead

Step 2: Plan Ahead
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Taking a mental health day does require some planning, especially if you’re busy.

You’ll have to schedule a day off from work and clear your social engagements, so pick a day where nothing really pressing is happening.

If you don’t need to do it, push it back a day. You might have to do some preliminary rearranging, but the result is a totally clear day.

Step 3: Organize Your Space

Step 3: Organize Your Space
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No one can relax in a cluttered space. So tidying up your space a bit will help you decompress later.

Make your bed, put your laundry away, and put away any work or social media material.

Then make yourself a list for all the things you’re going to do at a later date. Organizing future to-dos gives them structure, which relieves stress.

Step 4: Clear Your Social Engagements — And Don't Apologize For It

Step 4: Clear Your Social Engagements — And Don't Apologize For It
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It can be tough to cancel on someone, but stay focused. If you’re not looking forward to it anyway, then don’t do it. Plus, your friends and family will forgive you.

All you need to say is, “I have to cancel. Something came up. Let’s try again later.”

You don’t have to explain yourself. If they press or whine, remain steadfast.

And anyway, if someone doesn’t respect your saying “no,” do you really want to hang out with them anyway?

Step 5: Embrace Having Nothing To Do

Step 5: Embrace Having Nothing To Do
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We’re so used to being overwhelmed with things we have to do that, when faced with a stretch of unstructured time, we’re at a loss.

So think of something you want to do, not something you have to do.

Read a book. Work on an art project. Watch a movie. Paint your nails. Go for a walk or a drive.

Step 6: Don't Overplan

Step 6: Don't Overplan
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The point of this day off is to relax, and if you pack the day with activities, you might end up defeating its purpose.

It’s okay to have a general idea of what you’d like to do, but don’t cling to it.

If you planned to go on a walk but it’s raining, that’s fine. Or maybe you wanted to stay in, but it turned out to be a lovely day and you want to go for a walk instead!

It’s all good! Just go with the flow. 

Step 7: Eat Something

Step 7: Eat Something
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Many of us spend our days grabbing a bite whenever we have a spare second, so use your day off to take back some of the actual pleasure of eating.

Whether you make something, order in, or go out, take time and enjoy what you’re eating. Eat enough to make yourself feel full but not overstuffed. Taste your food and appreciate it. 

Step 8: Indulge In Your Favorite Pastimes

Step 8: Indulge In Your Favorite Pastimes
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Outside of reading and watching movies, there’s usually one thing that helps you unwind; that thing you think about when you’re at work and wish you could be doing.

Maybe it’s driving along the backroads listening to your favorite music. Maybe it’s running through a certain area of town, or taking in the view from a certain vantage point. Maybe it’s singing in the shower.

Do that thing and let the stress evaporate. 

Step 9: Appreciate The Silence

Step 9: Appreciate The Silence
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Sometimes the best way to relax is to just take a deep breath and enjoy the quiet. You might have also noticed that a day off is a day to be by yourself.

Being alone for a day can work wonders and let your mind unravel all the thoughts you haven’t had time for during your otherwise busy schedule.

Spend some time with yourself. You might realize you’re pretty cool!

Step 10: Be Grateful

Step 10: Be Grateful
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Being able to take a day off from life is really something to be thankful for, but so are the rest of the things in your life — even if they’ve been stressing you out.

Be thankful for your job, your family, your home, and your stuff. Appreciate what you have.

After a day of stepping back from it, you’ll be able to see the good in all you have all the more clearly. 

Now that you have all the tips on how to make the most of a day off, start planning!

Let us know what your ideal mental health day would look like, and if you’ve taken one recently. If not, it may be time.

And be sure to SHARE these tips for relaxation with all the other stress-sufferers in your life!