Today I took a ‘mental health’ day from work, it is like a sick day but time to rest your mind and focus on your well-being but specifically on your mental state. Work can be stressful and one way to get away from that is to focus on yourself and who you are as a person. For your mental health day this can look like whatever you want it to. If you are a bookworm like myself, and have been yearning to escape into a book, you could read all day. If you’re the athletic type and the sun is out, you could spend the day hiking or going for a run along the canal.
For me, as a very goal-oriented person who is constantly busy with one project or another, this means sitting down with a cup of coffee first thing in the morning and reviewing all the short, medium and long term goals that I have; and subsequently, working on them.
I started off with a list, including anything and everything from working on the next step in starting up my business and organizing my finances to preparing my bridesmaid gifts and brushing my dog. My goal planning also includes one section that is often overlooked: self-care.
Self-care is something that I, even as a counsellor myself, always have to make a conscious effort to think about and to do as a preventative measure. What I mean by this is that rather than waiting until I am exhausted physically or emotionally to take time for myself, I do small things here and there that I value and enjoy doing to help relax my mind. Relaxing my mind, whether through reading, tv show binge watching, or running, helps to recharge my batteries and enables me to be more focused, motivated, happier, and most importantly, it helps me to be myself.
Taking time for self-care doesn’t have to mean taking a day off from work. It can be as simple as changing the way you do things throughout the day that can help you recharge. Examples of this could be listening to music on your way to work, or not listening to music if you feel like there is too much noise in your life already. It could also look like making a conscious effort to have less screen time during the day (maybe spending less time on social media during your work commute if you take public transit). It could even mean taking the stairs when there’s the option (if you are able bodied).
As you can see, there are many different ways you can prioritize your mental health even with a busy schedule. So find a way to show yourself and prove to yourself that your mental health matters to you.