How to take a mental health day – and make the most of it

A key step to mental wellness is taking a break from work. Here’s how to look after yourself best, from painting to tree-bathing

When you’re feeling sick, you know it’s probably best to take the day off from work in order to recover and feel better. Despite knowing how important it is for us to take care our mental health, many people may hesitate to take the time off work to do so.

There are many reasons you might feel the need to take a day for your mental health. There are many reasons to take a mental health day, including personal problems, poor work relationships, and excessive work. common reasons – as well as feeling burnt out, overwhelmed and stressed. If these factors are not addressed, they can eventually lead to stress, unhappiness, and even depression. mental illness.

Tackling mental health problems early is important for preventing them from getting worse. It is important to take a mental health day to take care of yourself, de-stress, and re-group. So if you’ve been feeling more tired than usual, are having trouble sleeping (or not getting good quality sleep), experience changes in appetite or even feeling more impatient than normal, it may be a sign that you need to take a day off work to look after your mental health.

Here’s a warning. It is unlikely that your mental health day will be a time where you dwell on your problems, think about what you are doing wrong, or do nothing.

Making the most out of your day

The reason you took the day in the first instance is likely to be the best way to spend your mental well-being day.

If you’re overwhelmed with your workload and have been very busy, then spending time thinking about how you can improve your work/life balance, or getting organised might be most useful in helping you to feel better. If you’re miserable with your job, then spending the day looking or applying for other jobs might be a good call.

But if you’re feeling emotionally or psychologically drained, here are a few other things you can do to improve things.

Get creative

We know this. creativity is good for us, even if you aren’t very good at what you’re doing.

Whether it’s painting, singing, crafting or writing a journal, spending time being creative helps release tension and boost energy levels.

It’s a bit like how you worked through issues and learnt by playing as a child. Creativity works in the same way. It can help us reduce stress and indirectly help us deal with the things that bother us.

mental health day

You don’t have a masterpiece to reap the mental health benefits from painting. Image: russn_fckr

Get physical

Exercise has been shown to be beneficial. effective as medication in treating many mental health issues. In fact, exercise can be so good for mental health that it’s often used as a first-line treatment for people with moderate depression.

It doesn’t matter what kind of exercise you do, either. No matter if you enjoy running, weightlifting, pilates, or any other type of exercise, it doesn’t matter what. managing stress and lifting mood – thanks, in part, to the feel good chemicals that our body naturally releases during exercise.

Get outside

Nature is a wonderful place to be. measurably calming effect on our bodies – it activates our “rest and digest” (parasympathetic) nervous systemThis is important to help reduce stress levels.

You might also consider trying activities like tree bathingIt is a Japanese pastime that involves walking quietly through forests and woods, trying to be present in the moment, and deep breathing. If you don’t live near a woodland, then activities like gardening and walking in the park are really beneficial too.

It is important to spend time in nature in order to reduce stress levels. Image: Aaron Burden

Get spiritual

This doesn’t mean go to church necessarily (unless that’s what you want to do), but practices such as mindfulnessmeditation and yoga are shown to be exceptionally good for our overall mental wellbeing. For added benefit, try doing these outdoors if the weather’s nice.

To get the most out of your mental health day, spend some time actively considering what steps you need to take to improve whatever issues may have been affecting your mental health in the first place. It might be best to do this at the start of your day so that you can spend the rest of the day doing an activity you enjoy. Most importantly, focus on what you’re doing if you can – rather than continuing the cycle of worry or distress. This may take some practice to get the hang of though.

Regardless, taking a day when you feel you need it to actively invest in yourself, recharge your batteries address any issues that may be troubling you is likely to have long-term benefits for your mental health. And if you keep these practices up in your daily life, it’s likely you’ll see continued mental health benefits.

Sandra Walker is a Clinical Academic at the University of Portsmouth in Creative and Community Approaches To Mental Distress.

This article has been republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Please read the original article.

Main image: Anthony Tran

 

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