Whether you are back in the office, or working from home for months on end, it is important to learn the value of a mental health day and how to implement effective strategies to cope with stress.
The Effect of Stress on the Body
Stress taxes the body and elicits a physiological response. More specifically, under duress, the brain releases cortisol (the fight or flight hormone) and adrenaline. These hormones trigger an inflammatory response in the body at a systematic and cellular level. Inflammation, specifically chronic inflammation, can cascade into numerous health issues including:
- Brain fog
- Weight gain
- Digestive issues
- Joint pain
- Muscle pain
- Gut dysbiosis
- Leaky gut syndrome
- Heart disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Autoimmune disorders
Utilizing a Mental Health Day as Stress Management
In order to avoid some of the stress-induced symptoms and conditions listed above, it is important to see and use mental health days as an effective tool for dealing with chronic stress, rather than viewing them as “being lazy.” The body and mind are intrinsically connected, and you cannot optimize one without supporting the other. Learning how to decompress and recharge will allow you to be more productive while avoiding damage to your mental and physical health.
Planning a Mental Health Day
A mental health day should include restorative activities, however, make these activities a plan, not a to-do list. Listen to what your mind and body need and do not feel guilty for moments that are not considered productive.
When creating your plan for a mental health day, consider including activities that bring you joy. Indulge in activities that you may not have done in a while like coloring, dancing, or baking. Having a plan of restorative activities minimizes the opportunities for your mental health day to be consumed by mindless social media scrolling or other activities that leave you more drained than before.
Everyone’s mental health day is unique, but here are some suggested activities to get you started:
- Sleep: Sleep dramatically impacts bodily and cognitive function. Adults should be getting 8 hours of sleep a night for optimal function, so using your mental health day to sleep in can be beneficial.
- Epsom bath: Epsom salt baths help eliminate aches and pains as magnesium is able to enter the body through the skin and reduce swelling. Epsom salt also helps soothe skin and reduce irritation and itching.
- Sauna: Saunas maintain numerous health benefits including improving circulation, flushing out toxins, aiding in weight loss, and they help decrease stress levels.
- Dry brushing: Dry brushing helps exfoliate, increase blood circulation, and promote lymphatic drainage. Additionally, because it stimulates your nervous system, it is a great way to wake up and feel invigorated.
- Meditation: Meditation is a great method to help heal the mind and body. Learn more about the benefits of meditation.
- Yoga: Yoga has shown to decrease inflammation, help with chronic pain, and improve cognitive function.
Prioritizing Your Mental Health
The stress and chaos surrounding everyday life may seem never-ending, but it is important to set aside time to maintain your mental and physical health.
After taking a mental health day, try and incorporate one of your planned activities into your day-to-day to regularly practice destressing. 80 percent of conditions treated by primary care physicians are caused or exacerbated by stress. By including restorative activities in your daily life, you can help avoid stress compromising your health and experience measurable improvements in your overall wellness.
If you are experiencing health issues and suspect you may need treatment for chronic stress, but are not getting the treatment you need, call us at 877-508-1177 to see how we can help you!