Homeschooling – and parenting – can be emotionally draining. Sometimes mentally and emotionally taxing days are more wearying than physically exhausting days. Those are the days I need 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 whatever is stressing me. The break 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.
Easy Ways to Take a Mental Health Break
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 occupies my mind for a bit and provides 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 is a great way to reset. I like to take a drive on the back roads (because crowded roadways only increase stress) and, depending on the mood, either listen to quiet, relaxing music or crank up the old school rock until my speakers vibrate.
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 resets 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 cathartic 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, but even the crisp air of winter can reset a difficult day.
10. Do something for someone else. Doing something for someone else can 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.
What are your best tips for giving your mind and emotions a break when you’re having a stressful day?