This blog was updated April 4th, 2020
Have you been finding it difficult to balance your responsibilities lately? Are you feeling overwhelmed with increased demands at work or at home, or perhaps stressed with life changes beyond your control? If so, then it may be time to take a mental health day and give your mind the opportunity to recharge. Putting your well-being first is particularly important during challenging times. If you don't, you risk burning out. So, put your to-do lists aside, and take some time to prioritize your self-care. You will feel much more happy, healthy, and productive afterwards.
Below are some ways you can get the most out of your mental health day. Remember, it’s important to incorporate a mixture of practices 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
At the moment, you may be experiencing additional stress in your life — you may be worried about job stability, concerned about your health, busy taking care of a loved one, or simply going stir-crazy from being indoors for so long. While some things are out of your control, you can find relief by changing how you handle these circumstances. First, you must identify what is causing you stress. Then, analyze whether the problem is as grave as you initially thought. 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 easier.
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, go all out and turn your home into your very own private spa — do a face mask, deep-condition your hair, take a long bath, and hang out in a comfy robe.
Not only does exercise release mood-improving endorphins, but it also helps improve sleep, boost brainpower, and increase self-esteem. While you may not be able to work out at the gym right now, there are plenty of ways to get exercise from the comfort of your home. Whether it’s through free workout apps or free virtual workout classes, staying active is now easier than ever. So, put on your workout clothes and get your sweat on. Your mind and body will thank you later.
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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