Tuesday, 20 January 2015

What to do on your Mental Health Day

Hey guys, so I posted a while back about World Mental Health Day and I have been thinking about mental health days some more.

For those who didn't know, a mental health day is an independent day whereby someone chooses to take a single day off from school or work because they feel as though they are not coping. In fact, studies show that one third of workers fake a physical illness just to get the day off work because they feel as though they cannot cope and require a day to recharge. 

And those figures were from 2011, so they may even have gone up.

Its no secret that if you don't take a break sometimes, you burn yourself out. But what does that mean? Countless people have said it to me over the years and they have never explained what it was until I actually went through it.

In my experience, 'burning out' is completely shutting down. When you put all of your physical and mental energy into work or school, and don't have breaks, one day it can all become too much and you shut down, which results in you physically not being able to do anything. This includes the simplest of tasks. 

I think you never get that same motivation back to work when you burn yourself out. It took a long time for me to learn that sometimes a break is okay, and if you don't get all of your homework done in time, that's okay too.

So, to stop yourself from burning out, it may be imperative to take a mental health day a couple of times throughout the year. If you're scared of missing out on too much, you could even just take a half day off. 

The way I see it, taking a mental health day is just like reclaiming a day of rest that school or work took away from you in the first place. You shouldn't feel guilty for taking a day off, because the world owes you a day. Just think of it like that.

So what can you do on your mental health day? Well, anything you want. But here are a few suggestions that if I was to take a mental health day, I would certainly do:
  1. Sleep in. Seriously, take as much time as you need to rest up and feel able to get out of bed. All of those days when you didn't want to get up at 6am but had to anyway? Give your body a break and sleep in as long as you want. Even if its just an extra hour, I can guarantee your body will thank you for it, and you will be less tired the day afterwards as well. Treat this as a day of hibernation - stock up on sleep!
  2. Get up, put the kettle on and make yourself a cup of tea, get something healthy to eat (I recommend a banana!) and have a nice long bubble bath. Allow yourself to feel warm and cosy inside and out. Breathe out the stress and breathe in whatever you put in that bath to make it smell so good. 
  3. Put some body lotion on and your favourite perfume. Smelling good is half of the battle.
  4. Do something that you wouldn't usually have the time for on a school or work day. Read a book, catch up on a television show, or watch a movie in a blanket fort. Make some popcorn or get some chocolate to munch on, and put on your warmest, fluffiest socks. You've got this.
  5. If you need to, take a nap. You can never have too much sleep, especially on a rest day.
  6. Remember to eat and drink plenty of liquids. I recommend another cup of tea.
  7. If you are behind on homework or school work, perhaps you can catch up on some. Switch off your mobile phone and get focused... the quicker you do it, the more time you have to relax. Studies also show that holding a warm cup can make you feel more focused, so maybe put the kettle on again?
  8. Take some time to reflect. Look through old photo albums, meditate a little, or just sit and breathe for a while. Don't worry about tomorrow, just focus on how calm you are feeling today.
  9. Send out good messages to people on Tumblr, Twitter, or whatever social media platform you want. Maybe even send out a few nice comments on blogs! Just one message will brighten up someone's day and knowing this will make you feel as though you have achieved something, even if you have spent half of the day sleeping.
  10. Get ready for tomorrow. Pack your school bag, or the bag you're taking to work, have everything to hand so you don't have to rush, perhaps tidy your room a bit, and get an early night. You'll wake up refreshed and you won't have to rush in the morning, which is another thing not to stress about.
I hope you liked some of these suggestions, and if you have any more questions or want any more suggestions for what to do on a mental health day, drop me a comment below or message me on Twitter

Have a lovely day wherever you are, stay safe and I hope you're all coping well today.

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