Routine can be exhausting. Completing all our tasks, paying bills, being there for others, adulting in general… Everything adds up even when we don’t stop to think about it. That’s why it’s essential to set some time aside for ourselves—we need little vibe checks. We can forget what makes us happy when we have little free time; we stop having hobbies and doing the little activities that ground us. Planning days in which we focus on self-awareness and our wellbeing, mental health days are essential to get to know ourselves better too. Sometimes we get caught up in what we feel like we’re supposed to do instead of what we WANT to do, getting sucked into the routine. In this article, I want to provide a guide for what a productive day to yourself could look like. It’s important to note that you’ll need to set this day apart ahead of time (take the day off or use a day off, plan activities, get your supplies…) so you can fully concentrate on yourself rather than being busy. I want to take into account more than just the things you would do during vacation or your free time—there will be exercises that can help you understand who YOU are and what YOU need.
- Get out of bed, and wash your face with cold water to make sure you’re awake.
- Find a cozy spot to meditate, and spend as much time as you want doing breathing exercises.
- Make yourself a soothing drink, such as tea, and take your time to make a breakfast that brings you joy.
- Take a journal, and WRITE. Jot down the things that stress you out, and then, write why they’re a cause of stress and the things you can do to either lessen it or solve it. You can also use this exercise as a diary. Let your mind wander, and write down the thoughts that come up.
- After writing the self check-up, finish off by journaling about what you’re thankful for. It’s important to put all things in perspective, mostly when we regularly stress more about the negative things than think about the positives.
- Get changed into confortable clothing and take a walk, or even a hike! Go to a happy place—nature, downtown, your old neighborhood…
- As you get your daily movement done, contemplate about what you just journaled. Are you happy where you are? If not, what are some steps you can take to make things better?
- Cook a meal that you normally don’t have time to prepare. Maybe something that brings you back to a place or moment in life that brings you joy, or just something that you once learned how to master but you haven’t had much time to prepare again. Once it’s ready, eat slowly, appreciate every bite—there’s no rush.
- Schedule a relaxing/soothing activity for after lunch. Maybe do something outside the house such as a massage, yoga, or a creative workshop like mug decorating. If you’d rather stay home, you can use this time to catch up with your favorite TV show, play music on your favorite instrument, or basically do an activity that lets you unwind from stress. Catching up with an old close friend can also be emotionally soothing. Reminiscing about the good old days from time to time grounds us on why we do what we do, what has brought us here.
- For dinner, get food delivered from that place you used to go to all the time! Snuggle into your favourite cozy blanket, put on some jazz and eat that dish that makes your mouth water.
- Read that book that’s been in your TBR list for way too long, it’s going to be worth it. If you’re not normally that much into reading, you should still give it a try! Put your short attentioin span to the test and pick up that book that you’ve been recommended a bunch of times.
- Before you hit the hay, look back at your journal. Make one last entry about the activities that drain your energy and the ones that fill the tank. Reflect on what you’ve felt throughout the day, how do you feel about going “back to normal” the morning after? Finally, read your gratitude list again and remind yourself of all the good things in your life. What can you do to lessen your stress and be more aware of the things in your list daily?
This routine isn’t meant to be suitable for everybody. Use it as a template and adjust it to your own needs! Is writing the best outlet for your emotions or is it talking to a close friend? Ranting out loud and recording it maybe? The most important thing to learn from this post is that mental health days shouldn’t be exclusively filled with activities you enjoy doing, you need to be vulnerable and open with yourself too. However, it still is important to do things that bring you joy for you to feel comfortable exposing what makes you anxious. Check in and write your feelings in a comfortable environment, then think about solutions and seek help if necessary.