'I'd really like to take time off, but I feel guilty."

'I just can't get motivated or stay focused."
'Life has been overwhelming."
Have you ever said any of those things? If the answer is yes, then you need to read this article. "We try to convince ourselves that feeling overwhelmed and stressed out and not having time to take a day off is normal -- but it's not normal," says Dr. Adam Perlman, executive director of Duke Integrative Medicine. "It's just your reality at the moment."
Unfortunately, we live in a workaholic culture. We must always be doing something or we aren't productive. This is the reason so many of us don't feel good. You can plan a vacation, a three-day weekend or just incorporate more breaks into your day. Remember, as human beings we are not computers and we need to take time to recharge our batteries. This is known as taking a mental health day.
Why You Need a Mental Health Day
We've all been there, you know that coworker that comes into the office with a cold. Even though, everyone insists she/he stay home, they don't. It's right before your vacation and you are worried you will catch it. Feeling mentally or emotionally down is not different. It's a legitimate reason to take a day off.
"I'm Me. Perfectly Imperfect." Anonymous

If you don't take one you are more likely to yell at your child or coworker for no reason, break down in tears out of the blue or have a bad case of road rage. You don't remember the last time you felt happy or excited, or wish you never had to get out of bed. All of these can be damaging to your relationships and to yourself. 
If this sounds like you, the good news is you arent' alone. The simple truth is, we all need to schedule special time to unwind and destress every once in a while. Here are 7 mental health days you can take:

  1. Schedule a 3 day weekend. Yes, you can plan your day off. Why not take it on a Friday or a Monday, then you can have three consecutive days off. Go somewhere fun or relaxing and unplug your electronic gadgets.
  2. Take a yoga day. You can go to a yoga class or stay at home and watch some yoga videos. Yoga has a great mind and body connection.
  3. Go for a hike. Nature is good for us. Studies have shown that nature is good for the brain. It is a great way to see some beautiful scenery and recharge the batteries.
  4. Watch your favorite sports team. It's alright to get out of the house. If you like baseball, then go to a baseball game. Treat yourself to your favorite seats and invite a friend.
  5. Take a spa day. This is one of my favorite ways to recharge. Get a massage or a facial, or both. Spend the day there trying new things. You'll be so glad you did.
  6. Shop therapy. It's alright to treat yourself to those new shoes you've had your eye on, or that new blouse you can't stop thinking about. 
  7. Stay in bed and watch T.V. You really don't need to feel guilty about this one. Make sure you are the only one home, so you won't be interrupted. Watch your favorite movie or reality shows.
Whatever you do, make sure it is something you enjoy and that you don't feel guilty about it. We all need to recharge now and then. Once you have done this, you will be much more productive. You are giving your brain the break it needs.

Start to incorporate relaxation into your life on a daily basis. Remember to set aside 30 minutes a day doing something you enjoy. For example, it can be listening to soothing music, painting, coloring drawing or taking a bubble bath. 

Lianne Avila is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She has 14 years of experience in the field and loves her work. For more help, please visit www.LessonsforLove.com.

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