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Why you need a mental health day

August 15, 2012
Beach umbrella at sunset - Antigua, Mar 2010

What if you had a whole day to yourself? What would you do?

With no errands, appointments, obligations or responsibilities… Just a whole day beautifully looming before you?

What if you had a car and perfect weather to go along with your day?

What would you do? Where would you go?

………………And why haven’t you done it?

We all deserve a mental health day. WAIT! Screw deserve… We NEED a mental health day. A day to get away from life… Our life. I don’t care how awesome it is.

Taking the time to step away from your day-to-day allows you a different perspective on where you are and where you are going. From a changed vantage point you can more easily avoid pitfalls, take detours and correct your direction as necessary. Maybe even find opportunities you may have missed in all the hustle and bustle. You might even hear the quiet voice in your heart telling you what you need.

I always know I am due for one when weeks fly by and I know I have been busy and yet still feel like I haven’t done anything. My energy dips. My crankiness increases (it’s possible and it’s scary). I’m listless and though there is nothing wrong, nothing feels quite right either. I inexplicably cry happy tears and sad tears almost in the same moment. And anything that requires more than staring into space is a huge effort. In short, I am a total zombie.

Last week, out of nowhere I found myself getting emotional over a Nike ad about young girls finding their voices. Then I was perfectly fine after. But a few moments later I was teary eyed over the delicious dinner my husband had made. Huh? What the hell just happened there?

So tomorrow I am taking a day off… from work, from yoga and from my life. I am going to the beach. I am bringing my favorite hat, a notebook, some knitting, comfortable walking shoes and music. I don’t have a plan. Just a destination.

When I return, I might make some changes. Or I may find that I have been on the right path all along. But I know my smile will be a little less forced. My heart will be a little more calm and I will be better able to share my love.

So plan your next mental health day. Yours may not look like mine. Mine doesn’t even look the same every time. And, hey, sometimes you only need a few hours and other times you may need a few days. The plans could be an elaborate spa day filled with pampering and luxury or a quiet day relaxing at home and catching up on your reading. Maybe it’s a retreat you’ve been meaning to go on.

Don’t feel guilty. Go ahead. I’ll cover for you.

If you need ideas or encouragement, let me know.

Remember: Our voices are at its clearest during the quiet moments.

Beach umbrella at sunset - Antigua, Mar 2010

Photo via Flickr (Creative Commons) by Ed Yourdon.

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From → Mind

12 Comments
  1. Wonderful post. I recently quit my job because the atmosphere in my office was too awful for me to bear. I have been nagging myself to get a new one, but I think I will take the rest of the week, do what I need to do (all the errands, etc) and take my mental health day, at a beach in my beautiful rocky mountains.

    I can also relate to the symptoms of needing a day to myself – the lack of energy, crying over the little things, feeling melancholy. It’s time for me to snap out of it. Thank you so much for sharing. 🙂

    • You should definitely congratulate yourself on having the courage to quit your job by taking in some nice views!

      Melancholy is such a good word to describe some of my moments. It’s just been laying on my shoulders for weeks now. I think everyone around me will appreciate the attitude adjustment as well. 😉

  2. Good for you! Wish I could join you 🙂

  3. Ingrid Martin permalink

    I’m SO homesick I’d drive to Oklahoma and veg with my folks. That would be Heaven on earth.

    Sent from my iPhone

    • You’re homesick for Oklahoma? You’ve never said that to me! I’ve known you for years! (You really should go home more often). 😉

  4. Cheers to mental health days!!! I forget how much I ❤ and need them until I've had one again 🙂

    Btw this post is very well-written…I'm spicy but when the sass is elevated to a whole new level it's time for a break. Similar to your crankiness, although your spunk is a huge part of what I love about you!

    • Thanks, Cara! Didn’t you hear that birds of a feather flock together… even if it is mostly on Facebook and snail mail… Shamefully enough I can’t remember the last time I took a day off. I hope it doesn’t rain tomorrow.

  5. Anna Skinner permalink

    Last weekend my husband and I were in Cape Cod for a wedding. The day after the wedding we wandered around the cute little town where we were staying, drank a couple beers on the beach in the afternoon, and then went out for a fabulous dinner. At one point, my husband said to me, “I feel pleasantly drowsy, but not tired.” I said, “You mean relaxed?”. His eyes kinda lit up, and he said, “Yeah—that’s it—I’m relaxed!” He had forgotten what it felt like and had even forgotten the appropriate word to describe the feeling!

    • Sometimes I feel like I use the word “relax” or “relaxation” so much that it has totally lost its meaning! Thanks to your hubs I’ll be thinking of it as “pleasantly drowsy, but not tired.” Like today… On this cloudy day as I sit on my couch by a window.

  6. Love this! You are right, we all need to take a mental health day sometimes and we need to realize it’s ok to just “do nothing” and just be with ourselves doing whatever we please.
    If I had a car I would take off to the mountains nearby for the day and just bask in the beauty while reading and checking out shops in the local town. Without car I usually head to the river part with a book and a nice iced tea to enjoy the sights and relax. Always feels great to do this!

    • Your with-car and without-car options are pretty good. It takes a minimum of 90 minutes for me to get out my concrete jungle. Share a picture next time!

      I do find though that it’s better when I schedule a “do nothing” day as opposed to a day where I end up doing nothing. Those days are filled with guilt about not getting anything done. And that just feels like a complete waste!

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