The world loves to kick our butts from time to time.
I’m not talking about the everyday hustle and bustle kicking-butt type stuff. I’m talking full-blown “I’m about to lose my sh*t” kind of kicking-butt.
When that happens, we need a mental health day for the safety of our loved ones. We need a “me” day—an entire day for just ourselves. No kids, no husbands, no friends or family. Just one day for ourselves.
Generally, when I think of a mental health day, I’m thinking mani-pedi, facial, massage, and hair appointment. This is where we are in the world, mental health in the form of whatever money can buy.
Well, sometimes that is not going to work. The car breaks down and it will cost such and such to fix it. The dishwasher is on the fritz and we need to hire a plumber. The basement floods and we need a new sump pump.
Before the world became filled with luxury-type mental health activities, a mental health day was just calling out of work and spending the day alone.
We are going to take it back to the basics: a mental health day that doesn’t have to cost a thing.
This is my mental health day 101. They might be simple things that we do every day, but you’d be amazed how much more you’d get from these activities if you do them with a different mindset.
We can turn these everyday activities into our new mental health day must-haves:
1. Sleeping in.
I never sleep in. Ever since I had children, I made it a habit to wake up before the kiddos. It was really the only time when I wasn’t doing anything for someone else. If I ever was going to allow myself some “me” time, it had to be done before the monsters woke up.
They are teenagers now. They don’t wake up until noon on most days but I’ve become so trained to waking up early. I still set the alarm for 4 a.m. every day. If you are anything like me and still set your alarm too, please sleep the fudge in on your mental health day. You won’t believe how amazing it feels to wake up whenever the heck you want. And since you weren’t planning to do anything all day anyway, you won’t feel guilty for sleeping in.
If you already sleep in plenty, then try taking a long nap in the middle of the day. Clear your mind, relax your entire body, and rest. It’s essential for the sake of our mental health.
2. Going for a hike.
You’d be amazed how fun it is to hike. I never was the hiking type, and it kind of used to scare me. You dress up like you’re about to climb a mountain, you even wear grip-type shoes. I assumed I’d be hiking up the side of a mountain, which didn’t sound fun to me at all. But it’s actually easy. Sure, you’ll need proper shoes but a lot of the hiking trails are rather flat.
As you make your way along the path, whether it is paved or not, you might find it rather calming and peaceful. You’d even be surprised how time alone in nature puts things into perspective.
3. Going for a bike ride.
I haven’t been on a bike since I was 12. When I was training for my first triathlon, I actually had to teach myself how to ride a bike all over again. But it all comes back to you quickly. Now I understand why people say, “It’s like riding a bike.” You seriously never forget how to ride a bike. I did crash into a wall though, but that is beside the point.
I was able to bike 25 miles on my first shot. Plus, you get to go so much further while biking compared to walking. There’s something so refreshing about the wind blowing on your face as you are flying through the streets. It’s freeing.
4. Going to a bookstore.
I love reading books. I’ve read books on the train, in bed, and on the beach. But to my surprise, I was actually able to have a seat and read in a book store. I don’t think I’ve realized that one before. Maybe I’ve gotten so used to ordering my books online that I didn’t know the world had changed, or maybe it’s always been like that; however, I didn’t start reading until I was in my 30s.
You can order a coffee or tea (okay, this is the only money we’re allowed to spend on our free mental health day), sit down, and get lost in another world for hours. They won’t even kick you out unless the store was closing. You could literally stay there all day long.
If you are a book lover, it’s a must-try. When you get lost in a book, it eases the real world for a bit. Besides, reading can improve brain activity, empower us to empathize with other people, help with sleep, reduce stress, and fight depression.
5. Giving ourselves a mini spa day.
Give yourself a little mani-pedi, or make your own organic face scrub and give yourself a facial. There are plenty of items in your cupboard to use for your facial scrub. One of my favorite homemade facial scrubs is mixing coffee grounds, coconut oil, and brown sugar. You could even use that same concoction for your mani-pedi scrub.
Play some relaxing music and give yourself whatever you would receive at a real spa. Let your troubles melt away.
The point of having a mental health day is to do something/anything for yourself and by yourself for an entire day. The point is to forget about the world. It might not take away your problems, but it will make you feel happy, rejuvenated, and ready to take on the world the next day.
Happy Mental Health day!