NAVIGATE ME
It’s All In Your Mind.

Truth or dare?

Let’s play dare: Tomorrow, take a mental health day.

Did panic just set in? Not surprising.

It’s ok. No, really –  taking a mental health day every once in a while is a good thing. When you return to work everything will be there waiting for you – and it may just give you a fresh, new outlook on life.

Most often we read about physical health and dietary health. There is one big piece missing from this equation – mental health. And it has more impact than you may think on your overall well-being.

We spend most weeks striving to succeed – working endless hours, burning the midnight oil & attached to our mobile devices – making ourselves readily available to respond to a text, email or phone call any time of the day. In between we try to balance children, home responsibilities, love life, extended family, and everyday challenges. It’s exhausting. Do we ever shut down? In this time & age, downtime is sparse and even when you find it, you are often distracted by your to-do list.

How is this impacting us?

It is breaking down our mental health – something that is an important part of each of us. Not the clinical mental health, but the functional mental health that includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel and act. It also determines how we handle stress, relate to others and make choices. “Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence, through adulthood, “ ~ MentalHealth.org

Sacrificing mental health can lead to excessive anxiety and stress, which can trigger physical problems including heart disease, ulcers and colitis, and also reduce the strength of the immune system. That’s pretty intense.

If you haven’t seen it already, there is a recent post on Twitter that has gone viral. Mashable highlights this pretty thought-provoking and encouraging story.

Madalyn Parker, a web developer from Michigan wrote to her team:

“Hey team, I’m taking today and tomorrow to focus on my mental health. Hopefully, I’ll be back next week refreshed and back to 100%.”

The response from her CEO is unexpected and refreshing:

“Hey Madalyn. I just wanted to personally thank you for sending emails like this. Every time you do, I use it as a reminder of the importance of using sick days for mental health. I can’t believe this is not standard practice at all organizations.”

Wouldn’t it be a huge stride in the workforce if the stigma of “taking a mental health day” was completely removed and actually acceptable? What a healthy, even-keeled society we would become.

What are some ways to improve your mental health?

  • Treat yourself with kindness and respect – making time for yourself.
  • Take care of your body by eating nutritious meals, drinking lots of water and exercising regularly.
  • Get enough sleep (this one is key!). Try lowering the temperature in your bedroom between 60-67 degrees for optimal sleep. Your body naturally decreases in temperature in preparation for sleep. According to The National Sleep Foundation, “Studies indicate that some forms of insomnia are associated with an improper regulation in body temperature.“
  • Consider adding a morning meditation every day to quiet your mind for just a few minutes before you begin your day (this is more achievable than you think – and not as taboo as in the past – there are tons of apps that can assist you).
  • Surround yourself with positive people.
  • Find stress releasing techniques – learn to walk away when feeling overwhelmed, practice deep breathing, smile and see the humor in life.
  • Break out of your routine – spice it up a bit and find new things to look forward to.
  • Avoid too much alcohol or processed foods, especially at night – both can trigger mental imbalance.
  • Set realistic goals that are achievable – you do not have to conquer the world in a day.

So, we go back to our original thought.

We dare you – take a mental health day. The impact it can have is priceless.

 

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