When was the last time you had a mental health day? Maybe you take time off each quarter. Maybe you feel guilty about staying home unless you have a fever or a sore throat.
If so, you might be surprised to hear that the World Health Organization designated October 10 as the annual official World Mental Health Day. It’s part of a campaign for education, awareness, and advocacy.
You can do your part by taking a break when you need it. Try these suggestions for planning a day off that will help you regain your balance and protect your wellbeing.
Tips for a Relaxing Mental Health Day
Each of us needs some downtime on a regular basis, but how you spend it depends on your personal situation. If you’re feeling stressed, arrange some quiet time to help you rest and reflect.
Try these easy and relaxing activities:
- Pamper yourself. Beauty treatments do more than make you look pretty. Your skin is an organ that needs care. Arrange a spa day at home or book a professional massage.
- Reflect and pray. Explore your spirituality. Start your personal retreat with some time observing your thoughts. Read inspirational texts and contemplate their meaning.
- Do stretching exercises. Borrow a book or video about beneficial stretching exercises from your local library or find some online resources to give you ideas.
- Make art. Express your creativity. Set up an easel outdoors where you can paint trees and buildings. Look in a mirror and sketch a portrait of your face. Visit a pottery studio to make a coffee cup or a pair of earrings.
- Read a book. Some studies have found that limiting your TV time can increase your physical activity and overall wellbeing. Pick up a book instead. You can read anything that interests you from novels to French cooking.
- Play music. Your favorite songs can have a dramatic impact on your mood. Put together a soundtrack that will soothe your soul or cheer you up.
- Take a nap. More than one-third of adults in the U.S. say they get less than 7 hours of sleep each night, according to the Sleep Foundation. Catch up on your rest. Schedule a nap early in the day, so it won’t interfere with your regular schedule.
Tips for an Energizing Mental Health Day
On the other hand, maybe you’re feeling bored and looking for stimulation.
Break out of your usual routines with a variety of new and interesting activities:
- Plant a tree. Search online for reforestation and tree planting programs in your local area or add a tree to your backyard. If you want to start out with something smaller, plant a garden for easy vegetables like lettuce and squash.
- Do chores. If you enjoy cleaning, tidy up your home. You could also tackle a single day home improvement project like painting a room or updating a window treatment.
- Be social. Invite a friend or family member to join you. Pack a picnic lunch to take to a park. Visit a science museum or attend a matinee performance at a community theater.
- Volunteer your services. Giving back to your community and helping others in need will make your mental health day more special. Walk dogs at an animal shelter or sort cans at a food kitchen.
Mental health days are a great way to recharge, but it’s important to invest in yourself the rest of the year too. Make your time off part of a wholesome lifestyle that will keep you happy and well.