Mental Health Breaks Everyone Can Take Throughout Their Day
As I'm sure we all have figured out, life can be exhausting. Sometimes we have days where we feel like we barely even have room to breathe. So what can we do on those crazy or even normal days to make ourselves a little bit happier and more energized to take on the rest of the day? Prioritizing your mental health and taking mental health breaks throughout the day is the key to staying calm, happy, and productive.
- Recognizing your mental health state and taking care of yourself when it's low is non-negotiable.
- There are mental and physical reasons why taking breaks will benefit your well-being.
- Use tricks to keep yourself accountable for taking these much needed pauses from life.
According to Mental Health America, one out of every five American adults will be diagnosed with a mental health condition in a given year. This speaks volumes to the amount of pressure people are under these days, whether it is with work, family, or other major life aspects. We tend to try to balance a million things in a day, rather than prioritizing our mental health and taking a few quick short breaks to reset and relax.
If you notice yourself more stressed than ever, fatigued all the time, and overall unhappier than usual, then this might be your sign to start incorporating more mental health breaks into your life and daily routine.
What are mental health breaks?
Mental health breaks usually mean something different to everyone. These breaks can be classified as anything that allows your mind to slow down and recharge. Whether you are in the middle of a crazy day, or your mind is just racing with thoughts, mental health breaks have been found to significantly improve your performance and stress levels.
Some of the reasons behind taking mental health breaks include:
- Improved focus
In a research study conducted by a University of Illinois psychology professor, they found that the brain stopped registering a sight, sound, or feeling if exposed to it for too long. They realized that when two people are performing the same task, the one that takes a break at some point during the task can actually perform the task better and stay more focused.
- Improved productivity and memory
Tasks such as studying can be difficult and definitely tedious at times. When we reach a breaking point during studying it is important to listen to what your body is telling you and TAKE A BREAK. Taking short breaks throughout the time period you are studying can recharge the brain and help it to process the information just learned, as well as improve focus for the rest of the study time.
Mental health break Ideas
Mental health breaks are not just limited to laying down and closing your eyes. There are actually many creative ways to relax and keep your mind active at the same time.
What could be better than improving mental health as well as physical health all at the same time! Walking boosts your mood by increasing blood flow and circulation to the b brain and the body. As a result, it has shown to provide higher self-esteem, mood, and sleep quality and decreases risk of depression.
This is one of the easiest mental health breaks that you can take before work, at a lunch break, or even after dinner. Turn on your favorite podcast or music artist and try to get at least 15 minutes of walking in a day.
Connect with loved ones
Strong relationships with loved ones goes hand in hand with a healthy mental state of mind. When you have a busy life, it might become easy to lose sight of the relationships that make you happy and fulfilled. Maintaining healthy relationships can help give us a sense of a greater purpose, therefore improving mental well-being.
Connecting with loved ones can be a great way to pause your work and take a mental health break while catching up with the people you care about most.
Did you know there is such a thing as an adult coloring book!? This is a perfect mental escape from all of life’s trials and tribulations. Research has shown that coloring has the ability to relax the fear center of the brain, the amygdala. Relaxing this part of the brain generates peace and slows a restless mind.
Here is a list of fun and stress relieving coloring books for adults:
Finding time to focus on your breath is a great way to relax and ease your mind. There are many breathing techniques that you can do right at your desk while taking your mental health break of the day.
Breathing exercises have been scientifically proven to increase alertness to your body and release toxins, which eliminate stress. The increased CO2 into the body stimulates the vagus nerve to produce a more calm and relaxed feeling.
While life is busy, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s busy with human interaction. Too much time spent alone can increase the risk of depression and anxiety (Mayo Clinic). If you find yourself alone all day or barely talking to others, it might be nice to try incorporating 15-30 minutes of socialization during your breaks.
Socialization significantly improves mental wellbeing by decreasing feelings of loneliness, sharpening cognitive skills, and overall increasing happiness. We are social beings in need of social interaction and human contact.
Ensuring mindfulness of these breaks
When you are wrapped up in all the stuff that makes your life busy, it is easy to forget to take these mental health breaks and step away from the computer or the other things that consume your life. Luckily, there are many ways to help yourself remember to take these small pauses from your daily activity.
Next time you are writing your “to-do’s” for the week, remember to block off a break each day for you to reset and relax your mind. Google calendar or other online apps are a great way to stick to your schedule and get reminders on the devices we are constantly on.
If you have a set lunch break everyday that you may forget to take sometimes, try setting an alarm to signal your much needed mental break. Even try making a plan for what you want to accomplish during these breaks beforehand, so when that alarm goes off you can get right to relaxing your mind.
Practicing taking mental health breaks can be difficult at first. If you are struggling finding the willpower to take these breaks, start off slow by incorporating them into your schedule at least a few times a week. Once these breaks become a habit, start incorporating them into your daily routine and you will notice how your focus, productivity, and mental well-being will begin to improve significantly.
Written by Emma Carlson