Mental Health Day
With stress and burnout on the rise, it’s essential to take a break every now and then. Taking time off to rest, relax and do something you enjoy can have big benefits.
A recent poll shows that millennials and Gen Zers are more likely than baby boomers to take mental health days. And a growing trend is for employers to offer dedicated mental health days.
1. Take Time to Relax
It is important to take time to relax, even if it seems like you’re busy. Taking time to relax and recharge your batteries can help you feel more balanced, focused and productive at work.
However, it can be difficult to know when you need a mental health day and how to take care of yourself. Experts recommend trying to be discerning and creative with your relaxation times, but also be aware of how you’re feeling in the moment.
The best way to start is to plan relaxation times ahead of time, says Caraballo. Look at your life/schedule on a macro level, and then brainstorm ways or activities you can do when you’re feeling particularly tired or stressed out.
Once you know when you need a mental health day, it’s much easier to find the time for rest. And when you do find that time, it’s even more important to use it wisely and thoughtfully so that it feels like real rest instead of a chore.
2. Do Something You Enjoy
Taking time to do something you enjoy is important. It is no substitute for a productive day, but it will make you feel better and help you maintain mental health.
For example, spending the morning watching a funny movie or going to a concert or museum are fun activities that will fill your day with joy. They are also a great way to unwind and release stress.
Doing something you enjoy can also give you a sense of accomplishment, Francis says. She recommends a one to four ratio of getting things done and doing pleasurable activities.
If you are able to take a mental health day, it is recommended that you do it at least once a month. This will help you recharge your batteries and be more productive when you return to work.
3. Spend Time with Family
A mental health day can be a great time to connect with family. Whether it’s sitting down for a meal together or enjoying a day of face-to-face interaction, spending time with your loved ones can significantly reduce the risk of depression and other mental health problems.
It’s important to be clear on your expectations for the mental health day. You don’t want to overschedule or push kids to talk about their feelings, but you can help them be intentional about how they spend the day and what activities will boost their mental well-being.
Identifying black-out days, such as Mondays or Thursdays when your child has a lot of homework to do or an important project due, is also helpful.
Kids may be anxious or overwhelmed after a breakup, finishing a big project, or taking a test. These days can be a great opportunity for them to take a step back and reset. Using this time to relax, reconnect with their emotions, and rest will strengthen their emotional skills for dealing with the future challenges that come their way.
4. Take a Walk
If you’re feeling overwhelmed and exhausted, it may be time to take a mental health day. Whether you need to just rest or have a full day of activities, taking a mental health day can be just what the doctor ordered.
A walk is a powerful way to improve your mood, reduce anxiety, and enhance your sense of self-confidence. It also produces endorphins, which promote a positive outlook on life and reduce stress levels.
Another positive aspect of walking is that it helps you connect with nature. Researchers have found that spending time outdoors can boost mental health, and increase creativity.
The best way to get the most out of your walk is to make it a regular part of your routine. It’s easy to start, and you’ll be surprised at how quickly it can become a habit.