One morning, back when Alicia and I taught middle school together, I walked by her classroom and noticed a sign on the door. It read: Shhh, Mental Health Day in progress. The 8th graders had just finished a long week of state testing, it was spring, and 8th-grade-itis was in full swing (believe me, it’s a real thing). Alicia recognized that not only was she exhausted, but her students were drained, as well. After thoughtful consideration, she decided to give everyone in her classroom a Mental Health Day.
What did that Mental Health Day look like? Well, if I remember correctly, when I walked by her classroom, the lights were turned off and students had brought in towels for morning yoga practice. Namaste. Then, the students relaxed and watched a school-appropriate movie in the afternoon. Keep in mind, they also traveled to their other classes that day, but for Alicia’s classes, they relaxed. Savasana.
A couple of weeks ago, I took a page out of Alicia’s book and took a Mental Health Day for myself. Needing some emotional Savasana of my own, I did schedule an annual check up for the afternoon, to cross that off of my list, but I took the morning for myself. After taking the kids to school, I returned home, made pancakes for myself, watched old Kathie Lee and Hoda episodes, and took a 2.5 hour nap! It was glorious! I did not clean up the kitchen, I left unfolded laundry in baskets, and I ignored the pile of essays waiting to be graded. I took the day for myself.
While I realize that not everyone has accumulated sick days that can be used for this reason, and that some of you may be stay-at-home parents who never get sick days, I would encourage everyone to find time, every once in awhile, for a Mental Health Day. Perhaps a relative could take the kids for an afternoon while you binge watch your favorite Netfilx series. Or maybe you could send your husband on errands to the hardware store while you go shopping or take an uninterrupted nap. Whatever your current situation is, consider where you need the break, and put it on the schedule.
There will always be bills to pay, piles to organize, and people who need our attention. But every so often, it is vital that we put our peace of mind, patience, and emotional well-being ahead of it all. Om, shanti shanti shanti…Peace, my friends.
“It’s not selfish to love yourself, take care of yourself, and to make your happiness a priority. It’s necessary. ” – Mandy Hale
~Think on These Things~