Everyone deserves a mental health day now and then. It’s when you don’t feel physically sick but need a break from the daily grind. You’ll know you’re past due for a little rest and relaxation when you start losing joy in your work and leisure activities and adopt a more negative attitude towards your career and colleagues.
What should you do with your much-needed downtime? You might feel tempted to crash on the couch and binge Netflix — but why not save such passivity for when you have a scratchy throat or upset stomach? Your goal today is to replenish your spirits. Instead, consider these six unique ways to spend your mental health day.
1. Get Gourmet
Workday cooking can be a drag. Let’s face it — who wants to drag out a mass of pots and pans after a long day? Meal-prepping helps, but it’s infinitely more satisfying to whip up a gourmet creation from scratch instead of popping a frozen meal in the microwave or slow cooker.
Instead, why not flip through your favorite cookbook and select an intricate recipe you’d never tackle during a typical hectic worknight? You have the time to visit a gourmet shop to load up on those ingredients you can’t find in a regular grocery. Set the table with roses and candles and treat yourself to a meal worthy of the Four Seasons.
2. Go Golfing
Who said the male set gets all the fun on the links? You don’t have to be Michelle Wie to pass several pleasant hours inhaling the fresh air, testing your skills, and maybe indulging in a brewski or two from the cart.
If you’re new to the links, take a crash course in golf etiquette to avoid offending others. Some people take this sport seriously and insult readily:
- Don’t talk during someone else’s swing.
- Stay on the cart path.
- Keep up the pace of play: You have up to three minutes to locate a lost ball. It’s also considered proper for slower players to pickup their ball to avoid excess waiting, so don’t be shy about driving yours to the green if your irons only take you a few yards at a time.
3. Take a Hike
Nature has mind-curing powers and hiking is the perfect way to experience it. What can you gain by lacing up your boots? You can ease anxiety and depression symptoms and even strengthen your relationship with those you love the most.
Sturdy footgear is a must, as is sunscreen and insect repellent. Look for bug sprays containing DEET or lemon eucalyptus oil for maximum effectiveness. Water is essential — approximately two cups per hour — so consider a camelback if you plan an extended trek. A few snacks can keep you energized on the trail.
4. Do Some Good
You might not think of volunteering as a unique way to spend your mental health day. After all, most efforts involve a bit of work — isn’t that why you need a break? It depends. Often, your exhaustion stems from being so overwhelmed by your daily tasks that you don’t have time to do things that nurture your spirit.
If that’s the case, you could reap massive perks from spending your mental health day socializing kitties at a local pet shelter or getting to know folks in need at a nearby soup kitchen. Why? Volunteering increases the levels of several feel-good neurotransmitters like oxytocin and serotonin that make you feel better about yourself. An hour or so of doing good can ease mild depression and make you feel terrific for the rest of the day.
5. Exercise Your Talents
Folks who do what they love for a living are fortunate. Most of us mere mortals take directives from our bosses for a living, exercising our creative talents only when we have a few small moments to indulge in our passions.
Your mental health day is your opportunity to indulge. Liberate yourself from timers and clocks and enter a flow state where nothing exists but you and the creative task at hand. It doesn’t matter if you paint a picture or knit an adorable pair of baby booties — do what you love for fun for once instead of selling your creation on Etsy for cash.
6. Have a Retreat
Many of us could use a retreat — but professionally run escapes can cost a small fortune. However, nothing can stop you from recreating the experience at home.
Set up your home the night before and create a schedule. It might look something like this:
- Guided meditation in bed
- Morning yoga
- A healthy breakfast
- Reading and reflection on a topic that interests you (like mental health)
- Mindfulness walk
- Creating a mood board
- Afternoon yoga
- A healthy dinner
- A spa bath
- Evening reading, reflection, and meditation
How should you prepare your home? Gather your materials and precook any special meals you don’t want to prep during the retreat itself — although mindful cooking can be a part of the festivities. Have plenty of candles ready for lighting and flowers and perhaps some tea bags for your evening bath.
Unique Ways to Spend Your Mental Health Day
There’s no shame in taking a mental health day. It can be the best way to chase away burnout and inject new vitality into your career.
However, there’s no need to spend the day idly watching TV and scrolling social media. Instead, try one of these unique ways to spend your mental health day revitalizing your body and mind.
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