I grew up in a household where I watched my mother reserve our home as place of peace. I watched her prioritize her mental well-being + sense of tranquility as best she could. I'd take heed as she persevered, through her own trials + throughout times of increased stress. There were plenty days throughout the year my mother would send me off to school, however, she called out “sick,” though I’d see nothing was physically wrong with her. It was often that she would strategically take a day or two off from work explicitly stating when I arrived home, "I took a mental health day." As a kid, I thought my mom was lucky when she could pick + choose when she’d go to work. I now laugh aloud, knowing how unlucky adulthood can be.
As I begin to build my own foundations, I thank my mother for providing these examples of taking her mental health as serious + necessary as her physical health. I’ve learned to listen to my body - now more than ever as a twentysomething always on the go. My body makes me aware of how much I can physically and mentally can commit to. Days free from external stress, an overwhelming workload, and most responsibilities - for me, is an ideal day of relaxation. My most recent mental health day was intentionally filled with activities that I made me feel good - got on my mat for some yoga outdoors; took myself to a matinee to see Girls' Trip; + read a book while I treated myself to a pedi. I’ve had days where I've done nothing at all besides nourish my body + rest; and there’s been days I’ve spent getting my life together + handling business. At the end of the day, however, the point is that you feel capable to take on the rest of your week.
It’s important for you to make you a priority. Just as you would call out sick for physical ailments, its' appropriate to have remedies + coping skills for the fog in your mental. You are the expert on what your body and mind needs in order to persevere. I encourage speaking with your employer (+/or professors) + not waiting until the last minute. Understand that you don't have to disclose your personal issues, but through experience - I find that being up front about what I can + cannot handle, keeps me employed + sane. Speaking with your higher ups also can break the stigma regarding employees' mental health and work productivity. It may become a topic on their agenda to begin to take preventative measures in the office.
We all know, you cannot pour from an empty cup. If you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed, plan ahead by having some self-care activities planned for your day off. Usually this happens over time, but it also depends your line of work and what issues you’re dealing with. If you can’t plan to take the day off, listen to your body + take the necessary steps to refresh + recharge.
Until next time,