Every once in a while I like to check out. Usually on a Sunday, I decide that the day is mine; I free myself from all social obligations, demands and pressures. I turn off my phone and I take a Mental Health Day. All day I do exactly what I feel like, when I feel like it. I eat what I want and I wear old sweatpants and no makeup. Here are some of my favourite activities…

Clean the whole house

This doesn’t sound like that much fun, I know. But if you’re in the mood to blast some tunes it can be very therapeutic. Clean out the mental and the physical cobwebs (or in my case, dog hair). The bonus on this one is that your house looks great for at least a week, which helps you to feel like at least something is under control.

Watch Netflix in bed… all day long

I can’t do this for more than one day at a time. Too much TV-binging melts my brain and makes me sad. But if it’s raining or cold, sometimes you just need a Sunday watching Gilmore Girls, eating ice cream and snuggling your pets.

Go to the movies (alone)

I love going to the movies. I love root beer and popcorn with those shaker packets of fake cheese. I love spy movies. And sometimes it is really nice to enjoy all those things by yourself. Don’t worry, it’s dark so people really won’t be thinking about how much of a loser you are for being there alone. Plus, more popcorn for you!

Walk

Sometimes you won’t have the luxury of taking a whole day away from the world. Maybe you only get an evening or even a lunch break. I’ve heard that when you are anxious it is good to change your surroundings; if you’re outside go in and if you’re in, go out. A long, brisk walk after a day cooped up behind a desk or in bed with your Netflix can really lift your spirits.

The point of taking a Mental Health Day, or just an hour, is to do whatever you feel like in the moment. Don’t get held back by what you should be doing, or avoiding things that you usually do in groups (like the movies). Take five minutes tonight and make a list of all the things that you enjoy, but never actually do. The next time you have a free day, pull out the list and jump at whatever sounds good. Trying new things and striking out on your own for a little while can really reduce stress. We don’t realize how constantly connected we are and how much it is driving us nuts until we cut ties for a little while.

About Sarah Lindsay

Sarah Lindsay is in her mid-twenties and lives in Toronto with her boyfriend and their dog (who also has some anxiety issues). Sarah was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder in 2005 at the age of 16 and is still trying to figure it out. Follow Sarah’s story on HMC’s Supportive Minds Blog, or additionally you can follow her on Twitter, Facebook or check out her new website: SarahsMoods.com

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