Mental Health Days: Benefits & Ideas

College is stressful. College is chaotic. College is emotional. College is failure. College is so many things that you are not prepared for. From partying to academics to internships to clubs, your mind is constantly moving at a pace that is hard to keep up with. Your academic advisor has been trying to reach you for three weeks to talk about graduation requirements, your friend just broke up with their significant other, your parents have been spamming you with text messages and calls, and you have two huge exams next week. All of this is overwhelming and, unfortunately, unavoidable. It’s college. You signed up for it. There are, however, ways in which you can de-stress and find a comfortable balance when juggling so many different aspects of your life. They are called mental health days.


Usually, us college women rally through tough situations and busy schedules. We go along with the work hard, play hard mentality. BUT, this may not be the best way to handle your social and academic circumstances. While you may think that going to the bars will allow you to let loose after taking that highly-anticipated (and studied-for) Chemistry exam, it also may turn out to be an unhealthy coping mechanism that can lead to bad habits. Think about it: you studied all week for this exam and now that it is finally over, you are relieved and all you want to do is have fun and not think about atomic structures or converting into moles. So, what do you do? You turn to alcohol or drugs or people you are sexually attracted to take your mind off of things. And oftentimes, when you aren’t sober, you tend to exaggerate the problems in your life as an excuse to drink more or hook up with that guy or girl on the other side of the bar whose name you will never know.


Partying is healthy to a certain extent, though mental health days are more beneficial. When you’re on a constant loop of studying and partying and studying and partying, there is no time to fully relax. Mental health days will get you back on your feet without any regrets the next day and leave you calm and less sleep-deprived. Whether this is having a movie night with some of the girls or binging a show by yourself, the key part about a mental health day is exerting the least amount of energy as possible while still maintaining a happy state. Some cool ideas for mental health days are face masks and nail-painting, listening to music and talking with your significant other, or even cooking a meal with some friends. Mental health days can happen alone or with a few of the closest people in your life. They can happen on or off campus. They can happen on the weekend or during the week. The best part about them is that they only depend on your needs.


Take it from someone who has seen and experienced anxiety. Keeping emotions bottled up is never the way to go and this doesn’t necessarily mean you always have to talk about them or go see a therapist. This means that you should not ignore your emotions nor should you fixate on them. Having a healthy balance between thinking about them, or even talking about them with a trusted person in your life, and letting them go is crucial in having control over your overall happiness. We are all our best selves when we are happy. And in order to achieve maximum happiness, there has to be a recognition that not all days are going to be good and not all days are going to be bad. Occasionally, we must take a step back to analyze our recent actions and moods and determine the best way to address them.


Mental health is not something we should take lightly. Both the people I am closest to and myself have been in a position where the black hole keeps getting bigger and we keep falling deeper into it. In order to crawl out, it is imperative that we keep ourselves surrounded by people and things that we love. It is also helpful to keep our minds focused on the right ideas. As our admittance into college has proved, we are capable of many things. We cannot do these things without dealing with what is going on inside. This can be scary and uncomfortable, but can ultimately save our lives and lead to healthier lifestyles in the future.


Below is a more concrete list of possible mental health day activities:


1. String bracelets

2. Knitting

3. Making a playlist

4. Baking/Cooking

5. Yoga

6. Drawing/Painting

7. Reading a book

8. Watching a movie

9. Long walk

10. Writing

11. Painting nails

12. Making a collage

13. Looking through old pictures

14. Puzzle

15. Organizing (anything)

16. Spa day

17. Bike ride

18. DIY crafts

19. Taking/Editing pictures

20. Thrifting