Be honest with yourself: could you use a day off? A day to decompress outside of the workplace so you can come back refreshed and ready to go? You are not alone. Research tells us that finances are the leading cause of stress in the U.S., the driving force behind our daily grind. It’s only natural we would need a break every now and then.
Taking a mental health day can boost our productivity at work, similar to taking a full-fledged vacation, so the benefits abound for both you and your employer. But how do you make sure your mental health day provides all the relaxation you need? There are a few factors to take into consideration beforehand so that your day off will be as calming and reinvigorating as it can be.
1. Do you want to be alone or around people?
What do you envision your mental health day to be like? A day of complete solitude might be right for some, while lunch with an old friend or a day at the park with your SO could be just the ticket for others. Each person’s circumstances are different. It’s fine to need a break from social interaction or to seek out the kinds of interaction you know will make your heart happy.
2. What do you want to do during the day?
A schedule filled with mindful meditation, a long, aromatic bath and dusting off that book you started reading a month ago might sound glorious to some overworked folks. On the other hand, catching up with housework and cleaning out your personal email inbox can be seriously de-stressing, as well. Take a moment to ponder what you would like to do on this most cherished day away from the 9-5.
3. What do you want to avoid?
It’s also a good thing to consider what you do not want to do on this day. Maybe logging off of social media for a full 24 hours is the best prescription for peace of mind. Perhaps vowing to not change out of your sweats and fluffy socks is the right choice. Take a second to reflect on the stuff worth avoiding on your day of rest and recuperation and then make a plan.
4. How can you prepare yourself for your return to work?
Vacations and mental health days aren’t meant to last forever, which can be a bummer. But, there are ways we can ease the transition back into our typical routine. What self-care tasks from your day off can you keep in a regular rotation? An evening walk, catching up with a dear friend and brewing up some calming herbal tea are all examples of things that need not wait until we are completely flustered to seek out. Carry over some of that relaxation into the next day and you will probably notice a lasting difference in your day.
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