I’m all for being productive and working hard to reach goals, but let’s be real: I’m human, and so are you. It’s not possible to work 24/7 without taking some time off. However, we live in a busy, fast-paced society that, in my opinion, does not value mental health as much as it should. Mental health is just as essential as physical health. Unfortunately, most schools, businesses, and other establishments do not place enough importance on it.
That’s the world we live in, but that doesn’t change the fact that you might need to take a mental health day every once in a while. Today’s post is about how you can plan an effective mental health day without it conflicting with your professional or personal responsibilities.
Know when it’s time to take a mental health day.
If you can identify fatigue and overwhelm early, you will know it’s time to take a day off before things get really bad. Here are some signs that you might need a break:
- You feel physically or emotionally exhausted
- You feel overly anxious, especially in the morning or at night
- You aren’t motivated or productive
- Your attention to detail isn’t as sharp
- You aren’t properly caring for your body
- You’re starting to hate your job
If you notice any of the symptoms above, it might be time for you to take a step back from work and let your mind and body recharge.
Planning for your mental health day is essential!
If you’re able to take a day off whenever you want without any prior planning, you’re VERY lucky. But many people have a set schedule with responsibilities, deadlines, and places to be. If you have a busy schedule like me, properly planning for your mental health day is essential. When you realize you need a break, you can request a day off from your job or take measures to responsibly schedule a mental health day for yourself. Then, you will have something to look forward to, and you can start planning to make it the best day ever!
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Take care of all urgent responsibilities in advance.
To make sure your mental health day is stress-free, it’s crucial to take care of all pressing responsibilities before your day off. You don’t want any nagging thoughts about things you still have to do.
If your to-do list is crazy long, try separating it into two categories: things that you’re going to do before your day off, and things that can wait until later. The idea is to make sure you don’t have any responsibilities to worry about on your mental health day. It’s not truly a day off if you’re still stressed out about things you have to do.
Listen to your mind and body.
Everyone’s mental health day will look different. For some people, a day off might mean sitting on the couch, eating Doritos, and watching Netflix. For other people, a mental health day might mean taking a day trip or going on a hike. This is YOUR mental health day, so you should spend it doing things that are going to make you feel happy, relaxed, and refreshed.
When you’re deciding how to spend your day off, you should take note of what your mind and body are saying. If you’re physically exhausted, maybe you’ll want to hang out at home and relax. On the other hand, if you feel like it’s been 10 years since you’ve seen your friends, you might want to plan social activities so you can get out and do something. Your mind and body will give you cues about what is best for you, and it’s important to listen to them.
Plan activities, and prepare for them.
Once you figure out what you want to do on your day off, you’ll want to prepare for your activities in advance. For example, you could stock up on snacks and movies in advance so you have them on hand. You could schedule a yoga class or a day at the spa. With proper planning, the possibilities are endless!
Get in the right mindset and allow yourself to relax.
For your mental health day to be effective, you need to de-clutter your mind and allow yourself to relax. Your day off won’t do you any good if you allow anxious and worrisome thoughts to take over. The point of planning everything in advance is to give your mind the space to be calm.
If you get nagging thoughts about things you have to do, simply tell yourself that it will have to wait until later. This is the time to make your mental health a top priority so you can stay well. You must care for your mind in the same way that you care for your body when it’s sick. Let yourself relax on your day off.
Unplug, unplug, unplug!
Things like email and social media create a lot of subconscious stress. On your mental health day, you should consider unplugging from the digital world, especially from work-related platforms. For a full 24 hours, don’t worry about unanswered emails. You took care of everything pressing before your day off, and everything else can wait until after. Your mental health comes first!
Reflect on how your mental day went.
Once it’s time to go back to work and get back into your regular routine, take a moment to reflect on your mental health day and how much it helped you. If you had a good experience, you can repeat it later on. If there were things that could have gone better, you will know what to do differently when you prepare for your next day off.
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