Plan a mental health weekend

Jan 24, 2018

Guess what? The use of life-enhancing devices such as cell phones and laptops has not changed the fact that you have too much to accomplish each day. And, with only twenty-four hours available, you try your best to get the most from each hour.

That would be easy if you only had one hat to wear in life but you don’t. You’re a parent, partner, worker, student, and friend to many, many people. All these hats usually fit well and are ones that you wear with pride.

However, there are days when the number of hats feels a little too tight to be comfortable. Days when the need for down time is overwhelming and the desire to do things that bring joy into your life grows stronger and stronger. When time to refresh and energize takes center stage, schedule a mental health weekend. Toss your hats in a corner and take a break to restore some of the calm, clarity, and focus in your life.

Step #1: Make yourself a priority.

Too often others receive the attention that we neglect to give to ourselves. Schedule time for yourself and guard this appointment as carefully as you would a medical exam or client meeting. Don’t answer your cell. Unplug all but the most necessary electronic devices. If you have small children and can only manage to take a few hours or a single day, do it. If you are a busy executive, close your office door and daydream for a few minutes. Tell your family, friends, and everyone else that you are not available during this time. Don’t feel guilty and don’t cave in to outside pressures; give yourself time to adjust to the freedom to just be.

Step #2: Dress comfortably.

This is the time to chill-out and be comfy. Kick off those shoes. Wear clothing that signals it’s okay to relax with no other purpose than to take it easy. Slip into those warm flannel jammies that Aunt Lou gave you a few years ago. If you get the same feeling from jeans and a tee shirt, go for it. Dress to please yourself not others.

Step #3: Get the glow.

Choose to focus on an activity that creates delight in your soul. Sit back and view classic movies, crank up the volume of your favorite music, or paint a watercolor landscape. Begin a journal, practice a musical instrument, or take a bubble bath. Missed the most recent episode of Glee? View it now. Whatever you choose should give you a warm happy glow.

Step #4: Eat simple.

Foods should be low-key and relaxed. Fresh fruits and salads or take-out meals are quick, easy, and clean up in a few minutes. See how creative you can be using foods already in the fridge.  Save your energy for activities that will leave you feeling invigorated and recharged. Leave the dirty pots and pans for another day.

Step #5: Have Fun.

Your mental health weekend has to be what you want it to be. It should generate positive spirits and strong feelings of contentment.

  • · It should not be a chore
  • · It should not be another item to tick off the to-do list
  • · It should not create frustration or disappointment

A lot can be accomplished in a weekend by using these simple but effective ways to decompress from a busy life. You’ll return to your regular activities with renewed focus and vigor – ready to retrieve your many hats from the corner and face the world again.

Wilma Fuller is a freelance writer and teacher. You can read more about her at