Taking a break from work is an essential component in the maintenance of mental health. Whenever you notice that you are starting to feel physically ill, you are aware that it is in your best interest to take the day off from work in order to rest and get better. However, despite the fact that we are aware of how vital it is to take care of our mental health, a significant number of us may be reluctant to take time off from work in the form of a mental health day in order to do so.
It’s not uncommon for people to feel burned out, overwhelmed, and stressed out for a variety of reasons, including personal issues, poor working relationships, and excessive amounts of responsibility. If these factors are not addressed, they may eventually cause stress, unhappiness, and even mental illness if nothing is done to prevent them.
When to take a break
It is essential to get a handle on issues with mental health as soon as possible in order to stop them from getting worse. Because of this, it can be beneficial to take a mental health day in order to take care of yourself, de-stress, and re-group.
Therefore, if you have been feeling more fatigued than usual, if you are having trouble falling or staying asleep, if you experience changes in appetite, or even if you are feeling more impatient than usual, it may be a sign that you need to take a day off work to take care of your mental health.
However, a word of caution is in order here. Spending your mental health day dwelling on your problems, contemplating the things that are stressing you out, or doing absolutely nothing at all is not likely to be beneficial to you in any way.
Getting the most out of every mental health day
It’s likely that the reason you took a mental health day in the first place will play a role in determining how you should spend it when you get it.
If you’ve been very busy and feel like you can’t keep up with everything that needs to be done, taking some time to think about how you can improve the
balance between your work and your personal life or getting organized may be the most helpful thing you can do to start feeling better.
If you can’t stand what you do for a living, quitting and spending the day looking for other opportunities might be the best course of action for you to take. However, if you are feeling emotionally or psychologically drained, here are a few other things you can do to help improve the situation.
Use your imagination.
Even if you aren’t very good at what you do, engaging in creative activities has been shown to have positive effects on people.
Spending time doing creative activities, such as painting, singing, crafting, or writing in a journal, helps release tension and boosts energy levels. Playing was probably how you worked through problems and improved your knowledge when you were younger.
The creative process is, for the most part, the same. It has the potential to assist us in relieving stress and, in a roundabout way, assists us in working through the issues that were initially bothering us.
Do something active during your mental health day.
It has been demonstrated that physical activity can be just as effective as medication in treating a variety of mental health conditions. Exercising regularly can be so beneficial to a person’s mental health that it is frequently recommended as a primary treatment option for mild to moderate cases of depression.
It is also irrelevant the type of physical activity in which you engage. Any form of physical activity, whether it be running, weightlifting, or Pilates, is beneficial for lowering stress and improving mood. This is in part because our bodies naturally produce chemicals that make us feel good when we exercise, such as endorphins and serotonin.
Being outside in natural settings has been shown to have a measurable calming effect on human beings. This is because it stimulates the “rest and digest” (parasympathetic) branch of the nervous system, which plays an important role in assisting with the reduction of stress levels.
You could participate in activities like tree bathing, which is a popular pastime in Japan. This activity entails going for long, silent walks through wooded areas and forests while focusing on being in the here and now and taking deep breaths. Even if you don’t live near a forest, you can still get a lot of health benefits from doing things like gardening and going for walks in the park.
Practices such as mindfulness, meditation, prayer, regular corporate worship, and church small group meetings are shown to be exceptionally beneficial for our overall mental wellbeing. Regular participation in spiritual activities, both on your own and with others, can have an important impact on your mental health. If you take a mental health day, be sure to make spirituality a priority.
Spend some time actively considering what steps you need to take to improve your mental health to get the most out of your mental health day. Complete this task first thing in the morning so that the rest of the day can be spent participating in an activities that bring you joy.
Most importantly, rather than continuing the cycle of worrying or being distressed, try to concentrate on what you are doing as best you can. However, getting the hang of this might take some practice at first.
Regardless, it is likely that taking a day off when you feel you need it to actively invest in yourself, recharge your batteries, and address any issues that may be bothering you will have positive long-term effects on your mental health. If you continue to incorporate these behaviors into your day-to-day life, it’s likely that you’ll see continued benefits to your mental health.
Get good sleep.
If you don’t get enough sleep, it can have a much more significant effect on your health than you might think. On top of that, no one wants to spend his or her entire day at work yawning and feeling drowsy. Getting a full night’s sleep can do wonders for our bodies. The following are some advantages:
- a more robust immune system as well as improved physical health
- increased metabolic rate and assistance in avoiding the gain of weight
- better mental state and increased output
Get a full night’s rest to kick off your day of mental health and get ready for a productive day ahead of you.
Tidy up your own place during your mental health day.
When you clean your home, you clean your mind. While you are cleaning your house, let some natural light in and put on your favorite album. This will help you create a relaxing atmosphere in which you can enjoy the rest of your day.
Cleaning is therapeutic, and it can often give you the feeling of starting over, as it allows you to clear out unwanted clutter in the house as well as in your mind. If you clean first thing in the morning, it will help you maintain your composure throughout the rest of the day and give you the confidence to tackle more challenging activities later in the day.
Just take it easy.
This day has been set aside specifically for you to focus on your mental health, and it is totally acceptable if all you want to do on this day is relax and take it easy. If the idea of a carefully planned day dedicated to mental health isn’t something that particularly appeals to you, then you should engage in self-care in whatever modest ways you are able to do.
Avoid giving in to the temptation to check your email or social media notifications, and make sure that you are completely disconnected from your place of employment. Remind yourself that you are deserving of a break by spending the day engaging in activities that bring you joy and make the most of this opportunity.
If you are feeling overwhelmed and need someone to help you further with stress management, contact us and speak to a Christian counselor today.
“Laying on the Beach”, Courtesy of Dan Burton, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Nap”, Courtesy of Sir Manuel, Unsplash.com, Unsplash+ License; “Face Washing”, Courtesy of Tadeusz Lakota, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Herbed Water”, Courtesy of Emmanuel Ben Paul, Unsplash.com, CC0 License