Each of us goes through varied emotions throughout the week- be it at home, school or at the workplace. This can become particularly difficult if you are going through symptoms of depression or anxiety. You might get the feeling that you have peaked out and this is the time you take a break to reset yourself.
Mental Health Day is when you take your time off household chores, school, or the workplace. Use this time to focus on relaxing, having fun and relieving stress. While just one day in a week is not going to help you bounce back but putting this as a practice can help you in the long run. It provides a much-needed break to pause, regroup, assess, and come back rejuvenated and fresh with high levels of energy. A recent study by WHO states that India loses about a trillion dollars on account of mental health disorders.
Let’s look at a few tips to help you take a mental health day and make the most of it.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by your daily routine (roles and responsibilities) where you are constantly expected to perform your duties as a student, employee, parent, spouse, or friend, you will get exhausted no matter how much you love what you are doing. It’s always important that you take time for yourself to
● Have fun and do the things that you enjoy the most
● Work on improving your quality of sleep
● Promote relaxation
● Learn to process your emotions
● Clear your mind
● Helps in reducing stress
Choose the day:
The best way to avoid feeling stressed in choosing the day is by taking the day off in advance or rescheduling your workload to ensure the day off is clear of any commitments. However, if on any day when you wake up and feel that you can’t take the stress anymore that day probably could be your mental health day of the week.
The decision to choose the day completely depends on your personal situation. If you have a good rapport at work with your employer and are comfortable sharing the reasons, then plan the day in advance. In contrast, if you feel they're less understanding, you don't have to share the reason. Just call in sick or use your time off or schedule a weekend day.
While the above holds good for people at work these day offs are equally important to others too as mentioned earlier (students or homemakers). While I do not have to give any specific tips for homemakers planning a day off, but as parents it’s important to give the kids some space and help them plan a day off too.
While there are many countries around the world where there are policies that support a mental health day for students in schools, we in India are slowly getting there. With the launch of Tele Manas in collaboration with NIMHANS, we have started moving in the right direction.
If you can recognize the signs of burnout, it’s probably time to take a day off from work or school and call it a mental health day. If you feel there is a lack of focus, negative thoughts creeping in about yourself or others, or physical exhaustion chances are you are experiencing a burnout.
What to expect or do on a Mental Health Day:
Knowing what to do after having taken a day off for mental health is important. It’s not like any other day where you hide from your problems but introspect. An effective way would be to
Get a handle on your emotions
Step back and introspect what went wrong and how could you have done better
If you have someone close who you trust- talk to them.
Self-Care is very important in everyone’s lives. Problems can be hard when they seem close or inescapable. Taking a day off and focusing on self-care can help you rejuvenate your mind and body resulting in improved focus and healthy life.
How to spend the day?
Relax: A mental health day off means you can do what you really like, which will help you unwind. Watching tv or just doing nothing. Ensure it’s not any of those activities that you do on a regular day.
You could also look at
Yoga or Meditation
Go on a walk
Play your favourite sport
Reading a book
Getting a massage
This break is for you to revive mentally and physically so ensure you avoid overeating junk food and spending most of the time on social media or for that matter your mobile. This is the time when some negative emotions might crop up. Avoid overthinking about the same.
Ensure during the day you keep some time to reflect on what are those few things that drain your energy and how can you overcome the same. Also, take time to look at and review your priorities.
If you feel just a day off is not really helping and the stress levels are way higher consider taking a vacation or picking up a new hobby and spending more time learning the same. If you feel you are headed towards burnout, check out an online resource or talk to your doctor or mental health professional.
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