When you’re under pressure and feeling stressed, it can feel irresponsible to take time off from work. And there’s plenty of stress for everyone, from high inflation and market volatility to global conflicts and talk of an impending recession.
Ironically, experts say that’s exactly when it’s most important to take a mental health day.
People are reaching such high levels of burnout that many are quitting their jobs. 47 million in the last year, to be exact. Now more than ever, you should take at least one mental health day a month to recharge, says Michele Nealon, a clinical psychologist and president of the Chicago School of Professional Psychology.
But using your mental health days to de-stress goes beyond simply sleeping in and ignoring your work email, and if inflation can come your way gas Y grocery prices, you can certainly come for your local spa or yoga studio.
Fortunately, you have plenty of inexpensive options, even if you don’t know it yet. “You don’t have to spend a lot of money to relax,” Nealon tells CNBC Make It, adding that mental health days can be more beneficial to your workplace productivity than you think.
Here are four inflation-proof tips from experts for using your mental health days to de-stress and recharge:
Whether you’re taking a walk around your neighborhood or making a 10 minute high intensity interval training routinebe sure to move your body at some point during the day.
Physical activity is commonly linked to better mental health. recent one study in the academic journal Elsevier found that lockdowns early in the pandemic tangibly reduced people’s physical activity, leading to higher levels of anxiety and depression.
“Spending some time, even modestly, moving your body can be really rejuvenating,” says Dr. Kimberly A. Yonkers, professor and director of psychiatry at the UMass Chan School of Medicine, “Just move your body happy”.
Yonkers defines “joyful ways” as anything you find comfortable and exciting. She advises sticking to your own time frame: If 30 minutes is her sweet spot, don’t push yourself to move for a full hour.
The important part, Yonkers says, is finding activities you want to do. Here are some options:
- Try a new exercise
- Practice yoga at home
- Stretch at random times of the day.
- walk outside for a few minutes
- go to excursion
During busy work weeks, preparing balanced meals may be your last priority. But not eating healthy could negatively affect your mood, Nealon says. Healthy eating patterns are commonly associated with positive mental health, especially when compared to unhealthy diets, according to a 2020 study study published in BMJ, a medical trade journal.
“Spend time reflecting on ‘What can I eat today?’ and enjoy healthy foods,” Nealon says, “whatever a healthy diet is for you on any given day, spend time nourishing your body that day with something healthy for you.”
To save money, you can prepare a healthy meal at home on a budget: Earlier this month, celebrity chef Guy Fieri told CNBC that whole chickens and brussels sprouts are great options, as each can be cooked in many different ways. Your mind will also thank you for drinking lots of water, Nealon adds.
“Remember these three basics: sleep, what we eat, and then how we move our bodies,” says Nealon, “Those are three basics to keep us going through this long-term marathon of life.”
Getting a good night’s rest can do wonders for your brain, says Dr. Kristin Francis, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Utah Huntsman Institute of Mental Health.
If you’ve been having trouble getting enough sleep during the work week, you should definitely sleep in, says Nealon. If not, Francis recommends going to bed early at the end of your mental health day, so you can get up early the next morning and start your day, especially if it’s a weekday, with an episode of your favorite TV show or some other method. of self care.
People with full-time jobs often don’t get a full night’s rest. In fact, 32.6% of working adults respondent by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that they slept six hours or less per night between 2017 and 2018.
“Most people underestimate the importance of sleep and how important it is for us to be alert and efficient at work,” says Francis. with some overtime.”
Mindfulness apps can help you sleep better, Francis says, and many of them are free. “The whole goal is to recharge your state of mind and your energy,” she adds.
In theory, doing nothing might sound like a dream, but it’s actually a bad idea to use your mental health days effectively.
Francis says that stress and productivity exist in a bell curve: too much stress reduces productivity, while too little stress makes you complacent. She says she can find balance by working on hobbies while she’s out of her office.
On mental health days, Francis recommends a one-to-four ratio of getting things done and engaging in pleasurable activities. Taking one thing off your to-do list will give you satisfaction and help you feel productive, but spending the rest of the day doing what you enjoy will help you relax, she says.
“You’ll feel a sense of accomplishment for getting that thing off your list, but then most of the day will be spent having fun and refueling,” says Francis.
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