We all, every now and again, need to take a day off to take care of our mental health. Take a day to relax and do something we love. In this post, I have listed my go-to activities/methods for a mental health day, and how I personally take care of both my physical and mental health on the days I need to most. I have also included templates and activity sheets at the bottom of this post for you to use!
Firstly, let’s talk about why self-care and taking a mental health day is important. Self-care is an important step to take in order to tackle your mental health. Self-care has been proven to reduce anxiety and stress, and increase our mood. When we take care of ourselves, both physically and mentally, we are better able to maintain a healthy relationship with ourselves and others. This can boost self-esteem and confidence, and allows us to extend our positive energy onto the people around us.
But where do we start? There are many different forms of self-care, but it can sometimes be difficult to understand what parts of our life need more work than others? A great way to begin, is by using a balance wheel! The way you balance your life can significantly affect your mental health. Having a perfect balance allows you more time for things that make you feel happy. You can use the wheel on the page above to give yourself a representation of your life. The whole idea of the wheel is to show you where you need to rebalance, in order to feel your best self.
Here’s how it works!
Grab a pen and start colouring in the segments. The further out the segments reach, the more time you spend on that category. Below is an example to get you started:
There is a blank wheel attached at the bottom of this post, ready for you to use! But for now, lets look at some self-care activities!
I have mentioned the benefits of colouring in previous blog posts, and it is most definitely one of my go-to activities when taking a mental health day. Colouring is a great activity for spiritual self-care, which is all about finding a meaning for our lives, and developing a deeper connection with ourselves -it allows us to discover our true selves. There are many benefits to colouring, including:
Reduced anxiety and stress – colouring has the ability to relax the mind. It induces the same state as meditating by reducing restless thoughts.
Improved Sleep – replacing technology with colouring before bed helps relax your mind before sleep.
Improved focussed – colouring requires focus, but not enough to make you stressed. It allows you to push everything else aside and live in the moment, generating focus.
Meditation is a great self-care practice to become more stress-free and refocussed. There are many different types of meditation, a few we will cover in this workbook, however the effect will be slightly different depending on which exercise you choose. When meditating, the primary goal is to clear the mind and relax. Stress makes us anxious, intolerant and discouraged, which can have a negative impact on both our physical and mental health. Meditating helps rid us of these conditions by making our minds calmer and more focused. Based on one of the oldest religions practiced today, it urges you to purge your thoughts and focus only on the current. Instead of stressing about the past or future, we learn to feel at home in the present.
Contrary to popular belief, meditation is more than not doing anything. Meditation is to focus on one simple point and quiet your mind, eventually reaching a higher level of deep peace and inner calm. Our thoughts help decide our attitudes and how we feel. They can both encourage hopefulness, and discourage it. Because of this, we must be careful which direction we take our thoughts and feelings, so they don’t create negativity. Meditation helps us guide our thoughts into a positive direction, and gain control over our busy minds. Below is a beginner technique to get you started! For beneficial results, practice one or all activities daily. I would also like to inform you that I am qualified to instruct meditation!
It’s the twenty first century, and let’s face it, everyone has a smart phone! But did you know that turning it off for at least 30 minutes a day can have a major positive impact on your mental health? Here is a few reasons why:
Sleeping: Turning your smart phone off before bed can actually help you sleep. Any form of stimuli right before bed can affect the way that you are sleeping through the night, and unplugging can relieve you of any temptation to connect before bed.
Reduced Stress: Turning off your smart phone can also reduce stress. This is because you don’t have to deal with a constant flow of information being sent to your device.
Staying focused: Stepping away from your smart phone and taking a small break from social media can help you stay focused on your goals. It helps focus your mind on the more important things, instead of thinking about people’s comments and who viewed your last Instagram story.
Reconnect: Taking a phone/social media break is the perfect time to reconnect with yourself and others.
Taking breaks from social media and smart phones can be one of the healthiest boundaries you set for yourself, and is an extremely beneficent form of self-care. You don’t have to disconnect for long, just thirty minutes a day has been proven helpful!
One of the most popular forms of self-care is journaling! Journaling can help you keep track of your thoughts, whilst allowing a release for built-up emotions. There are many different types of journaling, including:
Writing – this is perfect for keeping track of thoughts and emotions.
Bullet – this works best for lists and goals.
Photo – this is where you journal about specific memories and photos.
Dream – used to write down dreams from the night before, especially one of significance.
Travel – this is used for documenting different travels. Often includes thoughts, photos, memories and goals.
Gratitude – strictly for all the things you are grateful for
Journaling is a helpful practice to cultivate for many reasons. It allows you to look back and see your thoughts and emotions at one point in history. It helps guide you to make better decisions when looking back at past memories, emotions and experiences. It also helps you notice patterns in your behaviour and attitudes, and serves as a source of encouragement, reminding you of achievements.
Puzzles are another great way to relieve stress and challenge the mind, which is an important part of psychological self-care. The way we think has a major influence on our psychological wellbeing. Psychological self-care is all about keeping control of our minds and challenging them! It helps us feel clear-headed and engage with professional challenges, which has a positive impact on both our professional and personal lives. A healthy and balanced psychological self-care routine is key to improved mood and anxiety.
Physical activity, such as walking or exercise in general, can have a major positive impact on our mental health. Having a well looked after body can make you feel good about yourself and your life. It can build self-esteem and make you a more confident person. Some physical self-care activities include:
Having a steady diet
Drinking plenty of water
Having a healthy sleep pattern
Not only does this have a postive impact on your mental health, but others around you also.
Thank you for reading, and I hope you find some of these activities beneficial! Here are all the templates promised! (They are all in one PDF file, so you can choose what you would like to use).