We talk a lot about self-care and taking time for ourselves but putting that into practice is kind of a science. In the past, I have worked to carve out time for myself only to self-sabatoge and end up cleaning, doing laundry or paying bills during my time “off”. Earlier this week, I decided I needed a true mental health day and I made it happen! Here is what works:
- Get out of the house
I know this is particularly hard right now but I find that if I stay home, even if I am alone, I end up worrying about my house or other chores and I don’t truly unwind. This time, I scheduled a massage for right after I dropped my girls off at school. This meant no time to go home and gave me something to look forward to.
- Set a budget
I tend to shy away from spending money on myself and so when I do have time alone, I don’t do anything because I feel guilty! That is ridiculous–and this time around, I told myself I was going to spend X dollars throughout the day. That meant freedom to get coffee, hit HomeGoods and buy lunch–without feeling bad.
- Don’t check in
I tend to be a hoverer when it comes to letting others care for my kids. I call or text frequently and this snaps me out of relaxation mode. For my mental health day, I told myself I was going to stay off my phone and that if someone needed me, they’d call. It made a HUGE difference in my day.
- Set your evening up for success, too
Nothing unwinds a good mental health day like coming home to dinner to cook and a house to clean. I planned on doing takeout and picked it up on my way in. I made a mental note to overlook any messes and gave myself permission to set aside house work until the next day. Just mentally prepping myself for what I might walk into–and warding off some of it with takeout–really helped keep the peaceful feeling I worked so hard to earn.
Right now, things are hard and you’re more strapped than even. Taking a mental health day really did change the trajectory of my week and being intentional about the planning and execution made it truly effective. Make the time to to do it! –and if you need a sitter? #wegotya