January 31, 2024
Mental Health days are for you. Take the time to prioritize yourself.
In today’s fast-paced world, taking care of our mental health is critical. One new tactic gaining popularity is for employers to provide what are known as mental health days off. Taking a mental health day from work can provide an outlet for much needed rest and can improve an employee’s productivity when returning to work. While not every company offers paid time off, you can infuse the spirit of a mental health day off into your normal PTO or even a weekend. So, what can you do on your Mental Health Day?
It is critical that we don’t fill these days with other stressors and rather focus on things that will help us to recharge. So, what helps YOU recharge? It is different for everyone. For some it’s finding a way to carve out some much-needed alone time. For others, it could be the opposite — taking opportunities to connect with your loved ones.
Mental Health days are for you. Take the time to prioritize yourself and fill your time with activities that leave you rested and recharged. Looking for ideas? Here are four ways to make the most of the day and prioritize activities that promote mental wellbeing.
Disconnect and unplug
As mentioned above some people need time with others to recharge while others may need some time alone to really feel rested. No matter what you need, a helpful tip to promote a good mental break is to take some time and disconnect from your screens. With technology now being such a large part of our lives, we have seen an increase in overall anxiety and overwhelm due to the constant overstimulation of technology. Even if you set a goal of an hour of your day to be screen free that can help to lower anxiety.
If you are someone who needs that social interaction opt for spending some face-to-face time with a couple of people that you enjoy, or going to be in a public space where you can practice a solitude activity while still being surrounded by others.
Engage in Physical Activity
Research shows that physical activity helps to produce mood boosting hormones. When life gets busy, it can be challenging to make time for physical activity. It helps if that activity is something you enjoy. Try to spend an hour of your mental health day off engaged in physical activity that you enjoy — whether that’s a walk, a hike, a run, a swim or anything in between. This is a great way to support both our physical and mental health and help us to improve focus as we return to work.
Getting fresh air can help us regroup and recharge. But depending on the season, this can be challenging. In cold winter months, it may take some creativity to build in time outdoors. On your mental health day find some ways to get creative with getting outside. You could try rolling the windows down for a moment as you cruise the back roads instead of the highway to work. Or you could take a brisk walk around the block. You don’t have to spend all day outside — a quick hit of fresh air can do wonders.
It can be tempting to use your Mental Health Day to complete all the unfinished tasks on your to-do list. While checking things off your list can help to alleviate stress, don’t overdo it. It is important to use this time off to recharge — not run yourself down further with all the tasks at home. If you want to knock out a few of those projects and it boosts your mental health — go for it! Simply double check that you are intentional with your time off. Build in that time for tasks and balance it with some other activities that are less task oriented.
Remember, our mental health plays a large role in our overall well-being. So, whether you have the benefit of paid mental health days, or just need a relaxing weekend — use these tips to infuse your time off with activities that restore your energy and ease your mind.