Mental health days are necessary for anyone who works each day to provide for themselves or their family. Work-life is stressful and burnout is possible for everyone, even if you love your work.
Here are seven ways to treat yourself on these days to improve your well-being and recharge you for the weeks ahead.
1. Get a Spa Treatment
Visiting the spa is an excellent way to take advantage of your mental health day.
A facial is a spa treatment that anyone can get behind. It massages and refreshes your skin in a relaxing process. It is a great way to unwind that is not as expensive as a massage.
A massage is a beautiful indulgence with different styles available to cater to your needs. Whether you prefer a lighter touch of a Swedish massage or want a deep-tissue experience, you can let your masseuse release the tension in your body, helping calm your mind. Some facilities now offer stretch massages that help your muscles feel completely loose.
Other spa treatment options include manicures and pedicures– shorter treatments that pamper your hands and feet. They are perfect for anyone who works with their hands or is on their feet throughout the day.
2. Eat a Good Meal
Food nourishes us physically and mentally, but a busy life does not always provide stress-free ways to enjoy healthy, delicious food.
A mental health day is a great time to cook or order a favorite meal with great flavors and nutrients. The effects of having a satisfying, relaxed lunch after busy days of takeout, freezer meals or granola bars are astounding.
When you eat slowly enough to feel full, your mind can focus elsewhere. The nutrients you take in all play roles in keeping your body and mind strong and healthy.
If you like to cook, try experimenting with foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids. Most Americans do not get enough of them, which are vital for cognitive and mental health.
3. Get Active
Exercise might be the last thing on your mind when taking a mental health day, but a sedentary lifestyle increases your risk of developing a mental health condition. Take advantage of the day to do some of your favorite activities.
When you move, your body releases endorphins which can help you stay calm and keep you in a better mood when handling life’s challenges. Exercise also keeps your body feeling better, which can lessen mental stress.
Have an active job? It is still worth trying out a new activity you know you’ll enjoy. Low-impact exercises such as yoga and swimming can work wonders for your mind and body. A stressful job where you are active can adversely affect your mental health, but finding a movement you enjoy can help you reap all the benefits exercise offers.
4. Read Your Favorite Book
You might be among the many people who enjoy watching television or browsing social media on your phone, computer or tablet. Unfortunately, evidence suggests that prolonged exposure to screens can harm your mental health.
With more jobs going virtual and taking advantage of the latest tech, more and more employees now spend most of their day in front of a screen. It can lead to stress and tension in your body. Spending more hours in front of screens at home can worsen the effect, even if you enjoy what you do.
Use your mental health day to engage in as little screen time as possible, and try picking up a favorite book instead. Research shows that reading a lighthearted book can help relax your mind and reset your focus.
5. Sleep In
Adults need seven to nine hours of sleep per night, but most do not meet that criteria. The lack of sleep can worsen mental health symptoms and put undue stress on your mind and body.
The good news is you can slowly but surely catch up on your sleep, and your mental health day is a great time to start. Sleeping past your typical wake-up time on the day is a way to ease into sleeping for more extended periods.
Some people try to wake up early during the week and sleep in on weekends, but that’s often not a productive pattern and can mess with your circadian rhythm. Instead, try to use your mental health day to experiment with a new sleep amount and see how it feels. Then, you can start going to bed a bit earlier to get that amount consistently.
6. Enjoy Nature
As modern society moves further away from past civilizations, one thing that remains constant is our connection to nature.
Being in nature when the weather is calm positively affects mental well-being. A study found that spending only two hours a week in green spaces helps support good mental health.
Exposure to natural light is also something to take seriously. Spending time safely in the sun can boost your mood and regulate your circadian rhythm, helping you get the sleep you need.
7. Talk to People
A mental health day is a great time to reconnect with friends and family members you might not get to see that much.
Even the most introverted people need social interaction, but that can be hard in the workplace if you do not mesh with your coworkers or only talk about professional things. Meet up with someone to catch up over lunch or arrange plans to meet with them in the evening for a movie or just a walk in the park.
If you struggle with mental health, this day is a great time to seek a treatment plan. Mental health is just as important as physical health— finding care is normal if something is wrong. You can ask your primary care provider or friends who are open about their mental health care about recommendations for therapists and psychiatrists. You can also use online databases to understand your options and what your insurance will cover clearly.
Treating Yourself to a Mental Health Day
Everyone needs a break now and then, and taking a mental health day is a form of self-care that will help you reach and stay at your best. Using these ideas, you can take full advantage of your days away from work.
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