Of Desserts, Baths, & Mental Health

Today is World Mental Health Day and I already need a nap. I’m not sure I’ll take one though because work (aka procrastination is catching up with me).

As my writing partner will readily tell you, I’m the best enabler when it comes to finding and making excuses for not meeting deadlines. When she misses a goal, I’m the first to say, “there’s always next week.” For myself and other people, I have a hard time distinguishing between “I’m stressed and need time off from my stressors” and “I just don’t feel like doing a damn thing today.” But maybe in a certain light they could be the same thing.

Sometimes the “I should have it all” culture we live in, as well as our own expectations, can push us beyond our limits. Whether as partners, mothers, professionals, or simply people trying to eke out some success in the world, it can be difficult to pull back and take care of ourselves before we hit that wall. It isn’t a crime to do nothing for an hour, an afternoon, or a day – though some folks can make it feel that way.

Protect your mental health. Recharge your batteries for the next social justice fight. Refresh yourself so you can be at 100% for your family or your career.

To help with that, here are some re-set suggestions you never asked for:

Enjoy a little (responsible) retail therapy.
Today, coincidentally, is also #NationalHandbagDay

Take a long bath.
Lying in a tub full of scented water while you relax and think about absolutely nothing is a pleasure like no other.

Learn a new game.
Right now, I’m personally intrigued by pétanque. While I was lavender peeping with the BFF over the summer, I saw dozens of signs inviting tourists and locals alike to play this game that was apparently born in the Provence region. It’s a lot like bocce ball and looks like it could be fun.

Indulge in that hobby you never have time for.
Do you love to read but find that you’re too tired after work or after putting the kids to bed? Take a bit of time before falling asleep to catch up on the catalogue of your favorite author. You’d be surprised how much you can read in those few minutes before bed.

Take a break from social media.
If you’re striving for a certain level of success but haven’t reached it yet, being on social media can be an exercise in self-flagellation. All over the interwebs, you see people “living their best lives” and enjoying the things you’d love to have for yourself. Yes, you’re happy for your friends and colleagues, but at times that makes you aware of just how far you have to go on your own journey of success. Log off for a day or three. Appreciate where you are now. Enjoy current accomplishments.

Treat your taste buds to the pleasures of a favorite dessert.
There’s a market in Atlanta that has the yummiest sweet things. Most days, I can’t choose between the red velvet cupcakes, tiramisu slices, or mascarpone fruit tarts. Take one of your faves and sit at an outdoor table with a cup of something hot and fragrant. With the fall breeze against your face, your legs stretched out, and nothing on your mind but how good the day feels, it could become one of your favorite ways to unwind.

There are many other things you can do to maintain your mental health in a world that seems filled with chaos, @ssholes, and over-scheduled calendars. The only limit is your imagination.

What are your favorite ways to slow down and deal with stress?

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Writing and being on the water are two of my favorite ways to de-stress. Two for one!

4 comments

  1. A walk with my dogs always helps me relieve stress! They help me remember to take in the little things, like butterflies, squirrels, and just enjoying our time together!

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