This Is How Often You Should Be Taking a Day Off, Experts Say
Even when things are relatively stable in the world, juggling the many tasks you have to do every day - from work deadlines to family responsibilities - is more stressful than you probably would like to take on. And when you add in a pandemic and its impact on so many different aspects of life, from your physical health to your financial stability, things can get unmanageable and seriously affect your mental health. That's why it's so important to take a break every now and then. And with World Mental Health Day on October 10th, it's a good time to start thinking about how many times you should take a day to recharge and undress. According to a UK survey, you need a vacation - or at least a day off - every 62 days to avoid burnout from work or other daily stressors. Otherwise, you increase the chances of getting anxious, aggressive, or physically ill.
Time out is key to prioritizing your mental health. "Mental health problems, by definition, mean maintaining body and mind health in order for workers to be more productive. To be productive, the human body must be fueled both physically and mentally," said Kevin Chapman, PhD. A clinical psychologist told Travel and Leisure in 2019. "The most systematic way to ensure this refueling occurs would be to regularly disrupt mental health as stress is inevitable."
As often as you are able to prioritize your mental well-being and general health, what time you do with yourself is just as important as the time you take. Read on to discover some ways you can make the most of your mental health day. For more information on how to improve your state of mind, see The Things You Do That Affect Your Mental Health.
Explore your creativity.
Hand painting on canvas
Whether this means trying a new recipe, painting it, or writing it in a journal, expressing your creative side has been shown to have a number of benefits for your mental and physical health.
In an analysis of more than 100 studies, the researchers concluded that "Participation and / or engagement in the arts associated with a decrease in depressive symptoms, an increase in positive emotions, a decrease in stress responses, and in some cases even with Connected to improvements are Cathy Malchiodi, PhD, psychologist and expression therapist, wrote for Psychology Today. And for more reasons to find peace, you can extend your life by improving your mental health.
Elderly woman listening to music and meditating on the couch
Activities like yoga and meditation have proven to be excellent ways to undress and improve your mood. According to a 2015 study published in the journal PLOS ONE, people who practice mindfulness regularly experience less physiological stress than people who have not.
Take a long walk.
Elderly black couple walking down path
What better way to unplug and escape the stress of everyday life than a nice long walk - especially if it's done in a natural setting or in a park? According to Mental Health America, taking a 30-minute walk or hike in nature has been shown to increase energy levels, reduce depression, and improve well-being. For more information on the benefits of moving your body, see The Amazing Health Benefits of Walking.
Keep your stress-inducing tasks on hold.
The Older Woman's Worst Habits
The point of a mental health day is to move away from the daily tasks and stressors that lead to burnout. Read a book, take a nap, get a massage, or meet up with friends. It's the perfect time to do anything to help you relax that you normally wouldn't allow yourself to do on a typical day. Sign up for our daily newsletter for more mental health tips in your inbox.
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