I've been struggling with my mental health for years and while things have gotten better at times, and I'm much better than I was years ago, the past few months have been really hard for me. I've been having a lot of panic attacks (which is proof in itself that my mental health is on the decline because I only have panic attacks when things are at rock bottom), and just having an overall anxious feeling on a daily basis.

The issue with my anxiety is that it is not situational, though I do experience anxiety in high stress and pressure situations, but rather my anxiety is just always there lingering underneath the surface. Everything could be going fine and I'm extremely anxious. When I don't know why my anxiety is flaring up it's harder for me to fix and find a way to feel better. It's torturous to live with a lump in your throat, your heart beating fast, and just an overall feeling of nervousness and discomfort.

I'm unsure why my anxiety has been so bad lately and it's very frustrating . It makes me feel like a failure because I do everything right - I go to therapy, see a psychiatrist, work out, journal, meditate, have morning and nighttime routines, relax, drink water, limit caffeine... everything I do is textbook for mental health healing and I still cannot go to the grocery store without freaking out. 

It's upsetting on so many levels but the bright side is that I usually know what needs to be done in the midst of an anxiety attack and I can bring myself down in the moment.

One of the main things I do to care for my mental health and always helps me reset and recharge is a mental health day. A mental health day, a day of true rest and relaxation is a must for me and it doesn't have to be a day where you call in sick to work... maybe it's on a weekend, or a random day off from work, or even a scheduled PTO day that you take once a month. 

To me, a mental health day is a day where you do nothing that will stress you out or contribute to anxiety. It's a day to clear your mind, give your mind, body and soul a break from the outside world and try to be zen.

I can always tell when I need a mental health day and here are a few signs:

Constant Irritation 

When I feel myself getting irritated at everything around me, whether it's a dog barking, the sirens and honking horns outside, or the ticking of a clock, I know that I'm near implosion. These little irritants contribute to my overall mood and my heightened anxiety so when I feel myself start bubbling toward the edge, I know that I'm due for some quiet and relaxation.

Distraction and Confusion

When I am operating in fight or flight mode for a significant period of time I tend to get easily distracted and very disorientated. I can't seem to focus on one thing for more than five minutes or I find myself getting easily confused by instructions, assignments at work, or just an overall feeling of delusional and not being connected to the world around me. I take this as a sign that my body is telling me to slow down.

Panic Attacks Outside of the Home

I almost had a panic attack at work a few weeks ago and that was the first time it's ever happened unprompted by an outside source. That's when I knew that I needed a break because if I'm at work and can't keep my anxiety in check, that's a red flag. If I'm not in the comfort of my own home and I'm breaking down and unable to keep my emotions in check, it means I'm not operating with sound mind and it's time for some rest.

These are my tell tale signs of needing a mental health day but maybe yours are different! Either way, it's important to understand your body and it's cues that things are getting a little rough and it needs a break.

Now, let's get into my perfect mental health day...

To me, a mental health day is a day where I'm home alone with nothing to do. I'm not expected to be anywhere or do anything and can just see where the day takes me. 

I love to deep clean, de-clutter and re-organize my bedroom or another part of the house. Cleaning brings me so much peace and when my home is in order, I feel much less anxious. 

I try to limit my screen time on these mental health days so I could clear my head and limit outside noise. I love social media so much but it's so easy for me to get lost in my TikTok feed and waste precious hours consuming content. In general, I've been trying to limit my time on TikTok so I put an time limit on the app and also have my phone lock at 11 PM on week nights. 

A few other things I try to do on mental health days: read, exercise and overall just myself a break. If I do feel like going out, I might run a few errands because oddly enough, I love running errands. 

All in all, a mental health day is a chance to relax your mind, connect with yourself and your space and just give your body and mind a break from the noise.


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