top of page

The Top 5 Ways I Routinely Take A Mental Health Break

We all have those days when we feel burned out, tired, and at our wit’s end. If this happens during the workday, your tendency may be to try and power through it.

But sometimes, that is not the best thing to do.

I've found that habitually pushing through terrible moods, feelings of overwhelm, and burnout, usually did less for me than taking the time off to care for myself did.

When I would intentionally leave work to go and take care of myself at 2:00 pm, I avoided feeling worse at 5:00 pm.

Don't get me wrong. Sometimes, the healthy thing to do is to power through these feelings. But when you know yourself as I do, you begin to know when you should shut down your computer and go and make yourself feel better.

These are my top five ways to quickly banish a bad mood and go take care of my mental health!

1. Dancing

You’ve probably heard the phrase, dance like nobody’s watching. Well, let’s just say I really take this advice to heart.

With a couple of glasses of wine (because one glass won’t do) and a 2-hour playlist, I just go for it. Unless the house is burning down or my neighbors complain about the noise (although usually, I'm wearing headphones), I will work up a sweat dancing to hip-hop or EDM while completely ignoring my phone.

This works for me because I am the type of person who can really get lost in music. When I do this for my mental health, I usually feel better, and sometimes, even euphoric.


2. Shopping at Home Goods

I usually go to Home Goods on a mission — to pick up new bedding or something in kitchenware that I need. I will be in and out in under 15 minutes, if there are no lines.

However, when I use Home Goods as my escape, my mission is healthy distraction, which can end up taking as much as 3 hours.

At the end of one of these trips, I usually leave with a stash of healthy snacks and inspiration to switch out the covers on my sofa pillows, move around wall art, or buy some flowers to arrange.


3. Altadena Public Library

The beautiful Altadena Public Library

This is one of the most special libraries I’ve ever seen! So, the fact that before COVID, I could just go here to clear my head made me feel genuinely grateful.

The library is located in an area of San Gabriel Valley, California, which to me, feels like it was kissed by God. Altadena is at the foothills of a great beautiful mountain range and the general area is filled with trees. 

Set in the middle of all that beauty is a library that fills me with joy just to walk into it.

Let me try and draw you a picture (or check out these Google images):

The main area of the library is planned around a central reading space with a sunken floor, vaulted skylight, and plants that along with floor-to-ceiling glass walls, help to blur the separation between indoors and outdoors.

The periodical section includes Dwell and The Oprah Magazine, and a comfy reading area decorated with mid-century furnishings in which to enjoy them.

The library also carries an impressive list of recent and newly released DVDs. Speaking of DVDs, their stellar media section often offers free classes on topics such as Video Editing.

There is a great communal atmosphere that the library obviously designed the space to help promote. If you can and want to play chess, you just go to one of the two chess tables and sit across from someone who is already playing.

They even have a sewing machine that you can use in the library! 

If you can imagine a sophisticated adult community center, you may be able to appreciate why this is one of the places I love to go to when I need to reclaim my Zen.


4. That Park Life

On any given day, you can find people from all socioeconomic backgrounds eating their lunch in Bryant Park (NYC). The homeless, the unemployed, a Wall Street banker, and regular folks like me (when I lived and worked in NYC, and now visit) love to eat our lunch in this particular park.

I don’t know how much the Parks Department has to do with it, but somehow, even with all these people eating there, the park is always spotless.

When I used to work in that tall green-looking building facing the park (see photo above), sneaking off to Bryant Park was one of my favorite ways to clear my head.

If you were to come across me on one of these afternoons, you might mistake me for a Times Square tourist, because there, I was able to push work far from my mind as I tried (usually successfully) to reclaim my peace.


5. Browse the Internet

I’m not alone in using the internet during the workday to escape, however, how I use it might be different than how most people do.

When I need a mental health break, I browse travel sites and look for cheap airfares to Mexico or Jamaica. I might even plan vacations (usually, they are vacations that I know I won’t take).

And those are my favorite ways to take a mental health break or to quickly and definitely, get over a bad mood.

Here's the thing about mental health and wellness—all of us need to take care of them. Just because you don't struggle with anxiety or depression, doesn't mean you don't need a mental health break every now and then.

What I have done is give myself permission to ditch my responsibilities for an afternoon and go and take care of myself so that I don't fall into a spiral by waiting until the end of the day to take care of myself. I used to always power through when a bad mood strikes during the workday, but now I know which ones need my immediate attention.

Besides, I do make up the time the following day or asap. Another reason that I justify taking those afternoons off when I'm struggling, sticking around never helps me to produce my best work.

I encourage you to figure out when it's more advantageous to take work time off, and also to come up with your own activities and strategies to quickly pull yourself out of a bad mood.

8 views0 comments


bottom of page