Taking Breaks and Days Off for Mental Health Care
In recognition of mental health awareness month, we have compiled some ways to take true mental health breaks from work as well as activities for mental health days. It is imperative to not only take care of your physical health but also your mental health. Stress and anxiety are two things that can greatly affect your physical health. Paying attention to your feelings and mental state, and taking time to care for yourself, can help as preventative care for your physical health.
There is so much truth to the idea that what we consume affects how we feel, and this is not just about food. Our intake of our own words to ourselves, social media, the words and actions of those around us, and our food and drink all have to do with how we feel. If we are constantly in a rush, with deadlines looming and stressed to get things done, never stopping for a break, our bodies will respond in a fight or flight state. Living in that state is not sustainable. Eventually, stress begets anxiety, which can result in depression and even worse. It is so important to take breaks from the stimulation and negativity of the outside world as well as the inside (our thoughts).
10 Ways To Care for Your Mental Health
Mental health care does not have to be anything “big”, it can be taking 15 minutes out of your work day to step outside, or taking an hour on the weekend to practice self care. Try an idea from the list compiled below, or create a list of your own, and save it somewhere that will serve as a reminder that your mental health matters.
Here are 5 mental health break ideas to help you through your day:
- Step away from your desk and walk a lap around your building or office. Movement and a change of view can help shift your focus and release a bit of stress.
- Keep an adult coloring book or doodle book at your desk and take a few minutes out of your break time to color or draw. The hand movements of doodling or coloring are stress relieving and compliment the mental break it presents.
- Give yourself permission to close your eyes, take some deep breaths, and even meditate for 5-7 minutes during your work day. Breathwork can completely change your mood and your physical posture from stressed to relaxed.
- Say something nice. Share the love with your coworkers or strangers by writing a few mindful, kind notes to others and giving them away. Being kind to others is a great way to feel good inside.
- Stop what you are doing on your computer and take a few minutes to clean up your desk space. Physically cleaning and removing desktop clutter shifts your mindset and cleans the clutter of your mind.
If you can take a mental health day, consider doing one of the following 5 things:
- Have a home spa day, or go to a spa. Treating yourself to a facial, a mask, a bath, or a massage can help your body and mind relax.
- Get outside if the weather permits. The sunshine will boost your feel good chemicals while the fresh air will revive you.
- Take a nap on your day off. Sleep is critical to feeling good, physically and mentally.
- Eat healthy, nourishing foods on your day off so that what you consume physically can be in alignment with what you are doing that day to care for yourself mentally.
- Do some cleaning at home during your mental health day. Quite often we ignore the things that need to be done at home, but doing them can make us feel a great deal better. Declutter your home desk, your closet, your kitchen cabinets, or your bathroom.
Your Mental Health Matters
The most effective mental health care is preventative care when it comes to stress, anxiety and feeling overwhelmed. By taking minutes during your day to care for yourself, an hour, or full day here or there, you may be preventing a serious mental health hiccup. Consider the fact that if you do not take care of yourself, and are unable to function in society, that will be a bigger issue than if you take a few minutes, an hour, or a day to care for yourself preventatively.