How to Plan the Perfect Mental Health Day
The realm of mental health has been entangled with misdiagnoses and misunderstandings for centuries. More recently, general health practitioners, psychologists, and other experts have been working to reach a common understanding of what it means to be mentally fit and how to prevent and treat mental disorders.
As a homage to the scientists working on the issue, we’ve come up with an outline of the perfect “Mental Health Day”, i.e., a day that you can take off of work or school to give your brain and nerves the break they may need. This guide is not meant to be seen as a treatment for any given disorder, but rather a compilation of tips that can be used for maintenance or improvement of mental health. If you feel chronically stressed, anxious, depressed or generally unstable, it may be time to seek professional help. Counselors, therapists, and psychologists are educated and available to arm you with tips and tools for treating mild to severe mental illness.
Additionally, the National Institute of Mental Health has some great resources for individuals who may need urgent help or cannot finance a regular visit with a mental health provider. Also never hesitate to reach out to friends or family: Mental Health Days can be a group activity, too! With that kept in mind, check out our play-by-play of the perfect Mental Health Day, and get yourself in the right mindset ASAP!
The root of many temporary or chronic illnesses can be boiled down to one simple problem: poor nutrition. The human body needs healthy sustenance as fuel to keep itself (the brain included) functioning properly. Additionally, starting the day on an empty stomach can lead to severe hunger in the afternoon, which may cause physical and mental distress. Avoid these problems and make yourself a delicious smoothie! While just fruit and veggies are good, you can add a little coconut oil, peanut butter or fresh almonds to add a little protein and (healthy) fat to your creation. Click here to find some refreshing smoothie recipes from Simple Green Smoothies.
Physical health and mental health are closely connected (if not completely reliant) upon each other. Poor mental health can lead to physical illness, just as poor physical health can lead to mental illness. To keep your brain and body happy, make sure to exercise regularly. Whether you’re lifting weights, going for a jog, practicing yoga or just dancing in front of the mirror by yourself, any movement or form of exercise is better than lazing about on the couch all day. This exercise equipment set should make it easy to stay active in the comfort of your own home.
Meditation is an ancient tradition which spans across multiple countries and cultures. While there are many different forms of meditation, they can all be used as a tool to achieve a clear mind and reduce stress. Both of these results are important characteristics of mental wellness. Set aside 10 to 15 minutes to cleanse your mind and release some tension. For more specific guidance on meditation, check out Mingyur Rinpoche’s YouTube channel, which offers many instructional and informative videos on the art of meditation from this Nepalese best-selling author and leader of the Tergar Meditation Community. Also be sure to find a comfortable cushion to meditate on: here’s one that we recommend.
Getting enough exposure to sunlight and fresh air is one sure-fire way to heighten your mood. Humans benefit from ultraviolet rays by receiving a boost in Vitamin D, and a breath of fresh air should give you a nice little burst of energy. Finally, according to this article for the American Psychological Association from Rebecca Clay, the color green and nature scenery have multiple positive benefits, mental restoration included. Either take a leisurely stroll in the park or, if you’re looking for something more challenging, take a brisk walk with these collapsible trekking sticks.
If there’s one secret ingredient to mental health, it’s this: spending quality time with friends or family. Just going to a cafe and catching up on the daily gossip with your best friend, supporting the local soccer team by attending the next match with a group of friends, or getting together with family for Sunday dinner can benefit your mental health greatly. Humans are highly social; we crave contact with other people, and just texting or messaging doesn’t quite cut it. One great way to spend time with loved ones is an evening of healthy competition and camaraderie AKA: Games Night. Check out one of our favorite board games, Munchkins, which is fun for board game beginners and fanatics alike. (Note: Please search for the game Munchkin in your language)
If you’re still feeling stressed or anxious after the majority of our Mental Health Day, maybe something particular is weighing heavy on your heart. Try writing out your thoughts and worries in a journal. This method is not only a way of physically releasing stressful thoughts onto paper, but also useful for organizing and prioritizing tasks. If you’re not a big fan of writing, try turning on some of your favorite music and reflecting or listing off your thoughts. For extra relaxation, while you get your mind sorted out, we suggest turning on this fancy essential oil air purifier in the background. Aromatherapy has various positive psychological effects and just smells great, too!
Finally, if spending quality time with loved ones is the special ingredient in the recipe of mental wellness, this last step is the main ingredient: get enough sleep! Countless studies, including the ones referenced in this article published by Harvard Medical School, outline the importance of getting enough sleep and the direct correlation of poor mental health with sleep deprivation. Put any technological devices away from your bed and allow yourself to fall asleep without any distractions. If you’re feeling restless, try reading a relaxing novel. This article from NPR highlights that the light from phone or tablet screens is detrimental to getting a good night’s sleep; whereas reading an old-fashioned book does not have this negative effect. And if you’re feeling anxious while trying to fall asleep, check out this weighted blanket that can help lull you into a deep slumber; it’s specifically designed to reduce stress and anxiety.