By: Sammy Harris
Simply based off the fact that you're reading this right now, I’m going to assume you're a pretty active, busy person. By no means is this a bad thing; it can feel so empowering to have a full schedule and checking off tasks one by one. Sometimes, though, this can turn into a constant feeling of being overwhelmed. In order to combat some of that stress, this is my (kinda perfect, in my opinion) version of a mental health day, starting in the morning.
1. Skip the alarm for the day. I love the sound of that. If you’re like most people and flinch at the thought of that alarm, a morning without it might be the move. Our bodies could definitely use one day to catch up on some sleep. Let your body tell you when it is ready to take on the day.
2. Get yourself moving! Maybe this is my “morning person” showing through, but a good day begins with a workout. I have found that getting my body moving in the morning is ideal. Even better, with a cute gym outfit. Feeling confident about the way you appear definitely kickstarts a fun workout, and I hope you can agree. I tend to be the most confident in the gym when I am dressed in something bright and comfy, but the decision is all yours. Just in case you have the same style, here’s some examples of my personal favorites.
3. Grab yourself a coffee, tea, breakfast, etcetera, etcetera. Who doesn't love the taste of a good post-workout coffee? I realize the day started out with getting up and finding some way to move, but this is when it starts to slow down. Finding time to sit and truly enjoy breakfast is so beneficial to your body and well-being!
4. Find yourself an outside activity (with or without friends, you know what you need). Everyone has that one place that they feel the most comfortable in nature. Getting out of the house and finding a place to just ‘be’ is lovely. This might be a beach, a forest, a little spot on the grass, but regardless of what it is, there are so many ways that being outside is proven to relieve stress and improve brain function. The lack of walls is the essential, an ocean or a few pretty trees are just bonuses.
5. Clean up! It has been proven that freeing up physical space in our living area is linked to freeing up space in our mind. No need to “Marie Kondo” your whole house on your day off, but maybe take a second to make your bed or get rid of some old clothes - whatever you have been putting off.
6. Cook for yourself. Again, many of these are coming from my personal, perfect world, but they might be helpful for you, too! I hope that I am not stressing you out with more tasks, but this might be a good idea for you to clear your mind and focus on something other than work. Cooking a meal for yourself can allow you to put your own preferences first and think about what you want in that moment. Of course, the more nutritious the better, but it all depends on what you are personally needing from this mental health day. Ordering in is always an easy option, but cooking your own meal is so rewarding and potentially a lot of fun to take your time and mess around in the kitchen. Pinterest holds seemingly all of the recipes in the world, so maybe take a peek.
7. Maybe the most important one: find a good soundtrack for the day. Although it is beautiful and helpful to be alone with our thoughts, a day full of your favorite music just completely changes the mood. For the times when you can’t stop thinking about possible scenarios and convincing yourself they actually happened (I have heard that happens to other people too, so I’m assuming you understand what I am talking about) or the deadline that is coming up, music can be there to serve as a little distraction and hopefully a little peace in the midst of your mental health day. We may not be able to fully escape from our to-do lists, but a brief pause filled with the sound of our favorite artist can’t hurt.
And there you have it… my perfect day, all dedicated to clearing my mind and setting myself up for success. It may not be your perfect day, but I offer these tips as suggestions for what you might try to include. Your mental well-being is of utmost importance, and it is necessary that we treat it that way. Clear your schedule and your head… the day is all yours.