Here’s the solution: Take a deep breath and take a mental health day. Too often in our current world, we are overly plugged in, always accessible, always aware of the bad and stressful things around us, and working on competing or unimportant priorities. This leads us to operating in an unproductive, ineffective, unhealthy downward spiral. And sometimes to break this cycle, we have to do something that appears somewhat drastic to get out it.
If you are like me, you probably know exactly what would make you feel better but you feel you don’t have the time to do it. However, we all need to listen to what our bodies are telling us. For me, I have been on this downward spiral since our car accident in August. We have had many physical and emotional tests and setbacks, as a family. And I haven’t really done what I needed to do: Mentally and physically rest. Right now, because of the accident, I’m not in a position to exercise away my stress. So, finally yesterday, I determined I needed to do something different. I needed to totally unplug and completely mentally rest. I took the day off (or part of the day because one of my children came home sick midday). I cancelled my appointments, silenced my cell phone, got back in my PJs, drank tons of water, ate great food, and watched 2 silly, nonsense, feel-good movies. I even napped a little. And, I gave myself the permission to do this. I told myself I was giving my body a day to reset itself and get out of this negative cycle. I was going to do something that would make me feel happy and would release those all-important endorphins. If I couldn’t exercise, I could still focus on relaxing.
And, do you know what I found? By dinner, I had more energy, I felt much better, I was excited to cook a more elaborate and healthy meal, I felt energized to work on homework with my kids, was more patient, and slept great!
When was the last time you did something for your health and wellbeing? Do it today, take a mental health day. Stay in your pjs, watch movies, read a great book, turn your phone off, exercise or don’t, but whatever you do, make sure you eat well, drink lots of water and rest. Often times, all it takes to reset our body is hydration, good food, and a little rest. For many people it’s also exercise. Normally, for me it would be, but I’m not recovered enough to exercise the way I want. So, I had to choose a different path. There’s no wrong answer, as long as you are allowing your body to recharge. Just listen to what your needs.
I can imagine what you are thinking right now, though. This is unrealistic, I can’t do it, I have too much to do. But therein lies the issue. For me, when I unplug and totally relax (especially when I don’t think I have the time for it), I find that I am able to think more clearly, that my problems seem less severe, and that I am better able to pull out true priorities versus harmful obligations and over-commitments. When I take care of myself, I am MUCH more effective both in work and family life and small problems get the right amount of attention, instead of being blown out of proportion. I know we are close to the holidays and we are all on a massive countdown. But, if you take this time to relax, I believe you’ll find the energy you are lacking and the focus you need to complete what is truly important. When you take time for your health and wellbeing, you are able to think and move more efficiently and effectively.
Try it and let me know how it goes.