Taking time for mental health is vital to overall health, especially during moments of extreme stress like an illness, a deadline, or general moments of high anxiety. Everyone knows you should exercise and eat well to stay heathy, but it’s easy to dismiss taking time for mental health. (BTW, mental health breaks don’t just help your mind. Research shoes that poor emotional and mental health make a person more susceptible to getting sick and make for longer recovery times.)
Easier said than done, right? Even with the best intentions to make time for mental and emotional health, modern life makes it hard. There are a million distractions that demand our attention: phones, work, school, kids. It can be hard to commit to an hour of mental health, let alone an entire day. But it’s worth it. Whether it’s a “Shouldless Day” to do whatever you want or an afternoon to reconnect with friends, committing to a chunk of time for mental health not only helps your body in the long run, it helps strengthen your family, your community and by the ripple effect, the world.
Check out these ideas to help have a healthy mental health day.
1. Turn off the alarm. Be honest: how many times do you hit snooze in the morning? If you do it more than once, it means your body wants more rest! Plus, the short- and long-term benefits of sleep are long.) Start your mental health day right by turning off the sleep alarm the night before. Even if you wake up when you normally would, let yourself stay in bed an extra while and enjoy your cozy bed.
2. Add a favorite treat to your breakfast. The first meal of the day often determines what you eat next. The point is to start the day with an indulgence you normally wouldn’t eat to inspire more satisfaction, whether’s it’s a side of Ben and Jerry’s with your regular bowl of cereal or adding your favorite cheese to an omelette. Forget about guilt, today’s about treating yourself.
3. Watch a feel-good show or movie. Laughter and smiling are great medicine. They release endorphins that make brains happy and strong. You don’t have to do much more than fire up a classic sitcom or heartwarming movie on Netflix to make the most of a mental health day.
4. Hang with friends. Yes, mental health days aren’t just about being a homebody! You can leave your pajamas. Making quality time with friends just to to talk is important. So pick a quiet, chill place where you and a friend can catch up and have real conversation.
5. Spice up your bathroom routine. Why not enjoy something as ordinary as hygiene? Elevate your bath time with a bath bomb from Lush, a company that helps the environment and animal welfare causes in a big way. (Why not make the world a better place while you luxuriate?) If you don’t have a bathtub, it’s easy to create the comforts of a spa with a scented candle, a bucket, warm water and Epsom salts for a foot soak.
6. Skip the gym for a simple home exercise. Exercise is obviously awesome for your health, but sometimes the atmosphere of a gym can totally undermine the goals of a mental health day. Try a few simple full-body home workouts or a long walk for low-key, low-stress fitness.
7. Get organized. Yes, we’re telling you to work on a mental health day. The act of decluttering can make you feel less weighed down and help with long-term stress management. Whether it’s clear out unread emails or reorganizing the closet, a little organization can go a long way. Just don’t forget to treat yourself.
Download ThatHelps’ app to discover more simple ways to help yourself and great causes you care about!