My dad is a pastor and used to be my religion and catechism teacher. (That’s a whole other story and not the important part of the story!) Now, while my dad was mostly a skill-and-drill type of teacher. (You know the type who makes you memorize EVERYTHING!) While he was that type of teacher, we did always have something special to look forward to after a few weeks of hard learning and memorizing.
He would do these things called Mental Health Days. This was waaaaay before this was trendy like it might be now. He would declare it a Mental Health Day, and we would all sigh and cheer because we knew there would be no note-taking or new learning - just a day to play games! When I think back, there were a lot of review games but still...they were games! We were having fun and letting our brains rest!
So, the bonus strategy for the week is inspired by my dad. Schedule Mental Health Moments.
Dear reader, you might be telling yourself: "Wait a minute! I was listening to your story. What happened to Mental Health Days!?"
You were listening, dear reader! He called them Mental Health Days (and if you can take a full day - bless you! Take it!) but they were really just 45 minutes to an hour of taking a break and taking care of our mental health.
The instructions are in the title. What you want to do is schedule mental health moments for yourself. They can be in the moment - as you listen to your body and your mental health needs. Or, if you are like me, you can schedule these in advance so that you know that they will actually happen. I’ve realized that I am often not the best judge of my own mental health when I am really in it! (And I've been IN IT lately.)
Like always, you are going to start small enough so that this is doable and doesn’t turn taking a Mental Health Moment into a chore or something on your To-Do List!
Ask yourself: What is one Mental Health Moment that you - knowing your own mental health needs - are going to schedule for yourself in order to take care of the one and only you?
After reflecting on this, take the time to write these ideas down and then schedule them - or at least schedule one Mental Health Moment that you need to take in order to take care of the one and only you.
Here are my current (and scheduled) Mental Health Moments:
Three (3) walks with dear friends
Having the groceries delivered
Harvesting marigold seeds while listening to random podcasts
Scheduling a daily "meeting" around noon - which is really a 6-minute yoga time
Thank you, Dad, for reminding me about the importance of mental health, rest, and play. It's all coming back full circle now that I am a teacher!
So I ask you, dear Marigold: What is one Mental Health Moment that you - knowing your own mental health needs - are going to schedule for yourself in order to take care of the one and only you? Go make it happen.
And send some extra loving kindness gratitude to my dad while you're at it!