The best back-to-work Christmas gift I gave to myself. I believe it was the second week back to work after the holiday siesta. It also happened to be a Monday. The findings from this day were astonishing. I took a Mental Health Day. Yes, I know I am very blessed to have a job that allows me to work remotely. I understand that is not true for all roles, but that is exactly what PTO or ATO is for. It is your personal allowed time off. I will share my experiences.
Number one. Listen to your body and honor what it is telling you. Become in-sync with what your body. This is the germiest time of year. It has it's only title; "Cold and Flu Season". It is important to listen to what your body is telling you it needs; after all no-one knows better than you. Full disclosure, sometimes I worry that I am too in-tune with my body and hypersensitive to what is going on, which I don't beat myself up for. After going through and pushing through all I have endured, it's hard not to be hypervigilant about your body. You know what your body need.
Number two. Be kind to yourself. Use thoughtful consideration and care. I think this starts with silencing the negative self-talk and judgement. You will always be your toughest critic and your most judgmental, critical point of view when it comes to yourself, lessen up on that negativity. I knew the office could go one day without me. Let's be honest, the work will be there when you get back, take care of you. Give yourself a little grace to take care of you.
Number three. Rest. Oh. My. Gosh. Yes! It is that simple, rest. If your body and or mind is telling you to slow down, then slow down. A few extra hours will do your mind and body wonders. Sleep is time when your body can heal and recover. When I need really good rest, I pull out the weighted blanket. Weighted blankets are the real deal. And when you are taking a mental health day, incorporate needed rest. I would not recommend sleeping the day away, but an extra hour of shut-eye and a cat nap do wonders. And if you watch a guilty pleasure TV, that's okay too! You are allowed. You will be so rested and refreshed to take on the next day. I was up early, in the office early, ready to tackle the day. True Story.
Number four. Building on the early bird is productivity. Hit the reset button. Reset on your needs and responsibilities. Taking this mental health day allowed me to hit the reset button. I was able to really take inventory in both what I needed to get done and what could wait. I was able to re-evaluate my responsibilities and take care of myself. By doing this, my productivity sky-rocketed. One mental health day increased my productivity tenfold. I made lists. I prioritized what needed to be done, when. You will be amazed what you can accomplished with a clear head and rested body.
Number five. An unexpected perk, I found myself eating better, more frequent small meals and spending zero dollars. Eat better - spend less. A mental health day at home or even a work from home day, you are able to eat and prepare food in your home, which you've already paid for (spend less) and chances are it's much better for you that a lunch out of a vending machine or quick kitchen (eat better).
Please remember that being self-aware does not mean you are self-centered. If there is one thing I can tell you, you don't want to wait until a "mental health day" is forced on you in terms of sick day or worse. There are a lot of silent battles we face and push through everyday, depression, anxiety, worry, and self-doubt just to name a few. Knowing when to take a day, take some space, some time, some distance is the least selfish thing you can do - it's self-preserving.
Don't just take my word for it, do it for yourself. Much Love. Keep Pushing Through.