Take a Mental Health Break! Part 2

If you’re having a particularly taxing day at the office, take a mental health break. This could mean taking a brief walk to get away from your desk and get a new perspective on things, or perhaps it means taking a longer walk on your lunch break or right after work before you head home to tackle your home life. A simple walk can help you clear your head between busy situations without just jumping headlong from one into another.

Maybe you’ve been running here, there and everywhere every night of the week sandwiching in weekend social events. Your mental health break might mean calling a halt for one weekend and refusing to budge from the comfort of your own home – and refusing to have guests over, as well. I get to the point now and again where I just need some down time – time at home to relax, kick back, and not worry about what how my house looks. I don’t want to entertain anyone, make small talk, or go anywhere. I just want to sit and to be still – perhaps watching a movie with the family, ordering pizza (delivered, of course), or reading a good book.

On a smaller scale, I like to escape to the bathtub to soak and read several times a week. There’s an unwritten rule at our house that when Mom’s in the bathtub, she is off limits. It’s my opportunity to unwind and slow the pace a little. Silly as it sounds, those brief respites in the bathtub help keep me sane!

I’ve also developed the habit of reading before I go to sleep. Sometimes, it’s not a true mental health break because I’m reading material related to my profession, but ideally it will be something inspirational or relaxing.

For some of you, a mental health break might mean taking the kids to grandma’s and enjoying a night out as a couple, leaving your parenting worries and responsibilities behind for a few hours. Or perhaps it’s an afternoon on the golf course with friends, or going horseback riding one evening.

Some folks find refreshment in a fishing excursion out on the lake or camping a week in the woods, while others would prefer a weekend at a bed and breakfast retreat being pampered or a week at a spa resort.

There is no “right” way to take a mental health break. The perfect break for you is the one that you find the most relaxing and refreshing. So only you can decide which is the best mental health break for you.

The key points to remember are:

Physically put some distance between you and your never-ending responsibilities.

Do something that does not tax you mentally – something that will leave you feeling relaxed and content.

Don’t let someone else dictate to you what you should do – this has to be something you do for yourself, not to please someone else.

During your mental health break – whether it is just a few minutes long or for an entire week – don’t think about all your responsibilities, your future, or your past. Instead, live in the present moment and appreciate what you are doing as you do it. Enjoy it to the fullest.

Learn to recognize your body’s stress signals and plan mental health breaks at regular intervals before you reach overload and eventually become physically ill.

It’s one of the easiest and most enjoyable parts of an overall wellness program, and with the busy life you lead, you deserve it! Just look at all the things you do for others. Isn’t it time you did something good for yourself?