Despite considering yourself a super employee, even the best of us can get exhausted by our work. Culminating stress, anxiety, home responsibilities, and lack of sleep over time will wear anyone down. As the importance of mental health has gained more prominence in recent years, so has the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance—and employers are beginning to catch on as well.
When you feel weighed down by your daily life, taking time for yourself is critical—in whatever form you can. However, while the idea of “mental health days” is becoming more widely accepted in the workplace, this isn’t always a reality for every employee. With limited time off and a host of other responsibilities, many professionals would have to take a day without pay if they were to indulge in this practice—something that is either not practical or simply not possible.
However, that doesn’t mean that you must be stuck in your rut, continuing the cycle of exhaustion. While a day off may not be possible for you, there are still several ways in which you can recharge and begin to feel reinvigorated in your work. Check out these eight ways you can revive your mental health without a day off:
While you may still need to be at work, this doesn’t mean you can’t evade the office. If you’re the type of person that checks their email at all hours of the day, practice unplugging from the office and make an effort to avoid looking at your inbox. In most cases, it can wait until the morning to be addressed. Additionally, making the effort to reduce your screen time outside of work in general can have a more positive effect on your mental health.
Change the scenery
Sometimes, all you need is a little more variety to shake it up. Sitting at the same desk day in and day out can get old quickly. If you have a laptop, finding a new corner of the office for the afternoon can give you a renewed sense of focus. Or, if you have the option to work remotely, this could be a suitable alternative to taking the day off. Working from your home office or from a coffee shop might just give you the relaxed work environment you needed.
Switch up your routine
As habitual as humans are, sometimes our routines aren’t always beneficial to us. Even if you love your routine, a simple shift can actually prove to transform your energy levels and mood. For example, if you usually shower at night, try showering in the morning to see if this gives you more energy. Or if you typically spend your morning answering emails, try saving emails for the afternoon while you focus on more complex tasks in the morning.
Take a night off
More easily said than done, taking a night off from some of your home responsibilities can give you a small window to recharge. This could mean a number of things, including getting a friend to watch the kids, ordering takeout instead of cooking, and simply allowing yourself some flexibility at home. While home life can get hectic, see if you can sit down for 30 minutes and read a book or watch a new television show. Taking time to do small things for yourself can remind you prioritize your own needs when they’re so easy to abandon.
If you’re really exhausted, this may seem counterintuitive to a relaxing “mental health day,” but you are also probably aware that physical and mental health are correlated. Because exercise increases endorphins in your body, this can increase your energy levels and help you to feel a renewed sense for focus when it’s time to get back to work. Whether this means a long gym session or a 10 minute walk during lunch, squeezing in any form of exercise can help you find your balance and put more mental energy into your work.
For those who feel particularly anxious or overwhelmed, sometimes practicing meditation can help you get a grip on all of the thoughts racing through your head. While the majority of people may find meditation difficult to understand, the act of simply sitting alone with your thoughts can give you the time you need to sort it out. When doing so, focus less on the endless list of things you must accomplish in front of you, and place your focus only on what you need to do next.
Start a journal
Similarly, sometimes we just need a time and place to sort out our thoughts to begin to feel rejuvenated. In addition to analyzing what stresses us out the most or figuring out our priorities, a journal can serve as a log that you can look back on. In chronicling your everyday life, you may find an unhealthy pattern or a particular event that always causes you more anxiety. As a result, you might even be able to extract those root causes that are making you feel so run down to begin with.