Have you been feeling like it’s almost impossible to concentrate, and even harder to care about producing quality work at the office? Or perhaps your mind is distracted by overwhelming anxiety or feelings of depression. Then it may be time to take a mental health day to give your mind the opportunity to recharge! However, calling out from work often results in feelings of guilt and worries about what your manager might think. But putting your mental health first is nothing to feel guilty about. When you’re well on the inside, you are more likely to flourish in your external world – the workplace and beyond. So, if you do not have any crucial deadlines or projects on the day you wish to take off, seek solace in your decision to prioritize self-care.
Now that you are guilt-free and ready to take a day in the name of mental health, you may be wondering which activities will help you get the most out of this day for yourself. It is important to incorporate a mixture of activities that help you feel well-rested, restored, and ready to take on life’s commitments.
Eat Healthy Foods That Will Fuel Your Mind
Ensure that your diet is full of Folate, Vitamin D, and Omega-3 Fatty Acids – as studies show that these nutrients can play a role in decreasing the risk of depression symptoms. Start your day off with some folate-rich whole grain toast, hearty avocados packed with omega-3, and orange juice, which is full of Vitamin D. For lunch, make sure that leafy greens are plentiful – perhaps in a salad. Studies have shown that people who eat a lot of leafy greens have the cognitive functions of someone 11 years younger. Then, between lunch and dinner, you can treat yourself to some dark chocolate. This is not only tasty but can help keep you focused and improve your overall mood. Finally, when the clock strikes dinner time, serve yourself a lean protein of your choice on a bed of vegetables. Tryptophan, an amino acid and building block of protein, produces serotonin and can enhance mood.
Reflect on Your Current Stressors
Leading up to your mental health day, you may have experienced a primary source of stress, or multiple issues that have left you feeling drained. Your day off is not intended for you to run away from your problems, but rather find relief in how you are handling the circumstances. Take this time to address each issue and put on your best problem-solving hat. First off, analyze whether the problem is as grave as your automatic reaction has made you believe. Secondly, let go of denial and look the problem directly in the face. Finally, separate the problem’s elements into categories that you can focus on one at a time to make the process less overwhelming. Use this strategy to confront each aspect of the issue and find solutions!
Dedicate Some Time to a Self-Care Regimen
It is essential to comfort your mind with a stress-relieving activity. Take a moment to seek mindfulness in a meditation session, connect the soul and body through yoga, or practice deep breathing. Diffuse an essential oil, such as lavender or chamomile, and dim the lights to promote an automatically relaxed mental state. And if you have the opportunity, you can also treat yourself to a spa service or deep-tissue massage!
Get Moving Outdoors
Going on a walk in the great outdoors is scientifically proven to help reduce stress levels. Not only does exercise release mood-improving endorphins but spending time in nature is a natural stress reliever. In addition, spending time in an environment bountiful in foliage is a fun opportunity to enjoy aesthetically pleasing scenery and take note of just how big this world is. Stressors can often seem less catastrophic when viewing the bigger picture.
By the end of your day, you are ready to unwind. Take a moment to acknowledge all of the great moments of the day by practicing the G.L.A.D. technique and jotting down your thoughts. G.L.A.D. stands for Grateful, Learned, Accomplishment, Delight. First, ponder about something that you are Grateful for today. Following the moment of thankful practice, recognize one thing that you Learned today. Then reflect on a small Accomplishment. And finally, what was one moment that filled your soul with Delight? When you reflect on your day and focus on the positives, you may notice that life is more joyful than you originally thought!
By the end of your me-day: your body will be nourished, stressors will be less upsetting, and your mind will feel comforted and thankful. Feel proud that you put your mental health first and get ready for the new beginnings tomorrow brings!
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