Take Time Out: Have a Mental Health Day

Ever had a day when you have so many things to do you know you’re going to drop the ball somewhere? Do you make lists with everything that needs to be done today, stuff that can be put off until tomorrow, and things that must be done by next week?

Factor into that all the things you’re supposed to remember for your family, who apparently can’t function unless you keep on top of them, and you start to feel that horrible knotted feeling in your stomach. Time management goes out of the window and you throw yourself into things that aren’t a priority – clearing out cupboards or the kitchen drawer –  and completely forget to do the important things such as food shopping and laundry.

We all have days like these and I’m fast learning how to handle them, resulting in better time management skills, something I resolved to do back at New Year. I may have abandoned several other resolutions I made at the time, but this is something which will reduce stress if I can only get organised.

I’m a list person, I love making long lists and get a ridiculous amount of pleasure from crossing things off it, putting a line through all those annoying ‘must do’s’ which drive me crazy. I try to multitask, working online while making annoying phone calls, paying bills while cooking dinner, racing to see how fast I can iron a shirt, that kind of thing. The plan is, if I get things achieved in a timely manner I can have some time off, chill and do nothing – but sadly that never seems to happen.

We all know this results in feeling overwhelmed, under pressure, anxious and irritable, and everybody in a five-mile radius suffers. Once in that mental state it’s difficult to unravel, stop a while and take a breather, you feel you’re on a hamster wheel spinning ever faster and can’t jump off.

Actually you can. I’ve discovered I’m more productive and focused if I step back, walk away from something and come back to the task in hand later. It ends up taking less time, I’m more relaxed and the results are generally better. All the wisdom in the world backs this up so why do so few of us take that time for ourselves?

My new strategy is to take a mental health day every so often, however much I ‘should’ be doing other things. It’s not easy, I fight with myself, argue that I can’t possibly have time out, there are way too many other things I have to do, but of late I’m allowing myself the freedom to do just that. And I love it.

Shutting down the computer, forgetting deadlines, leaving the keyboard and going off to do things I normally wouldn’t ‘waste’ time doing is a treat – reading through recipe books, mooching around the shops looking for nothing in particular, smiling at people in the street. Just being.

It’s a wonderful tonic for the soul – calming, energising and freeing at the same time. Today has been a day like that and I’ve achieved far more than I planned. There are things I haven’t done but, hey, so what, the world hasn’t ended.

I thoroughly recommend everyone take a mental health day on a regular basis, you won’t regret it. Promise.

About wordgeyser

Our anglo/american family used to live in four countries (USA, Canada, UK and the Netherlands) on two continents, separated by distance, time zones, circumstance and cultures. It has been a scary, enriching, challenging place to be. The only things guaranteed to get us through were a sense of humour and the amazing people met along the way. . . This year everything changed with a move for us from the Netherlands, – and a move along with us for our son and his wife from the UK – to Houston, Texas, the same city as our daughter. With our youngest in Vancouver, Canada, we are now all living on the same continent. How this happened, and more importantly why, will be the subject of this ongoing blog...
This entry was posted in Inspiration and Reflection, Personal challenges, Women and Female Related and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Take Time Out: Have a Mental Health Day

  1. ‘It ends up taking less time, I’m more relaxed and the results are generally better.’ Seriously, who could argue with that. Mental health days, ‘artist’s dates’, whatever you want to call them, they work. They really do. Not to mention enjoying the world more along the way. Really important post.

  2. Jane says:

    Thanks for such a wise reminder….

  3. MA Dmochowski says:

    Julia-Anne wanted me to tell you how much she appreciated your entry on a mental health day. She enjoyed one yesterday after having a 27 hours with major exams and her performance jury. I think I’ll take one tomorrow!

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