I’ve had some emotionally draining days over the last month. Sometimes mentally and emotionally taxing days are more wearying than physically taxing days. It’s on those days that I find myself in need of a mental health break.
For me, a mental health break is a way of giving my thoughts and emotions time to focus on something other than the cause of my mental stress and anguish. It doesn’t make my problems go away, but it gives me a chance to step away from them a bit, catch my breath, and maybe gain a better perspective.
Some of the ways I do that are:
1. Read a good fluff book. Sometimes when I’m having a mentally draining day, I like to indulge in a good fluff book. I don’t want something deep that requires a lot of thought. I just want some brain candy to provide a mental escape.
2. Deep clean something. This may just be me, but mental and emotional stress makes me feel out of control. Deep cleaning allows me to bring order back to chaos, at least in the physical sense. It also gives me something else to think about and a sense of accomplishment when I’m done.
3. Pray and read the Bible. As a Christian, sometimes I don’t just need a good book, but the Good Book. Spending some time alone with God and His Word almost always restores my sense of peace and gives me hope in the face of whatever is troubling me.
4. Take a drive. A change of scenery can bring peace to my troubled mind. I like to take a drive on the back roads (because crowded roadways only increase stress) and listen to relaxing music.
5. Talk with a friend. Often simply knowing that someone is listening to you and understands what you’re going through is enough to turn a difficult day around.
6. Watch mindless TV. An emotionally trying day is not the time to indulge in the evening news. Relaxing in front of some just-for-fun TV is sometimes enough to reset my equilibrium for the day.
7. Enjoy a mini-splurge. I’m not a big fan of “retail therapy” because I find shopping and crowds stressful, but I do like to indulge in a drive-thru sweet tea or a take-out meal when I’m having a rough day. I’m a huge fan of fresh flowers, so purchasing a small bouquet often helps. A bubble bath with some candles and relaxing music is a good option, too.
8. Have a good cry. Here’s the part where I make myself sound all girly, but a good cry can be a great stress reliever.
9. Take a walk. Exercise elevates dopamine in the brain, which improves mood and a sense of well-being. Taking a walk on a beautiful, sunny day does wonders for my spirit, but even a the crisp air of winter can reset a difficult day.
10. Do something for someone else. Doing something for someone else is a great way to take the focus off your own problems – plus, it usually makes you feel as good as the recipient of your good deed, so it’s win-win.
There are flowers sitting beside me as I type this, some very clean rooms in my house, and plans for a couple of hours of mindless TV later tonight.
What are your best tips for giving your mind and emotions a break when you’re having a difficult day?
photo credit deposit photos