“Mama said there’d be days like this, There’d be days like this Mama said” (The Shirelles)
When I was younger, there were times when my mom would ask if I needed what she called a “mental health day,” basically a day off to recoup and refresh.
At the time, I didn’t really understand the concept, and being the school dork that I was, I felt that missing school was more of a burden than actually going.
My mom didn’t make this offer all the time, but when she did, I never really took her up on it.
Now I’m starting to understand the wisdom of the concept.
I’ve had so many amazing opportunities come my way over the past several months. So many amazing things that I am being asked to be a part of.
I would do everything I could. But sometimes, it’s just too much. And something has got to give.
Hence where the mental health day comes in.
Rather than pack my days to the max, I have recently really had to concentrate on what I have to do, and what I want to do. Those are two very different things. And with a busy schedule, I have recently had to bow out of or say no to things that I didn’t absolutely have to do at that moment, even though I wanted to do them,
Therefore, I have learned to build in days – or not really build them in – but allow myself to allocate days where I take a break from everything.
I don’t do this often, but I listen to what signals my body sends me.
I haven’t always been good at doing this, but the more attention I pay, the less I end up regretting later.
It’s not that I skip work or school, unless I’m super sick, but on days that I have reserved for doing work and homework at home, I certainly give myself some leeway when I feel that I need it.
And thankfully, a lot of what I am doing involves other chronically ill people, so I have a lot of understanding folks on my side right now, which is really something new and different for a change. It also helps me feel less guilty about saying no when I know I have full understanding from the other side.
Especially when you are a student, having a chronic illness is a full-time job and so is school. And if you’re like me and you have a part-time job and an internship on top of being chronically ill and being a student, your sanity can definitely get lost in the shuffle of it all.
Again, that’s where mental health days come in. I read a book for pleasure, I drink tea, I lounge around. I let myself be me. And I try to relax and de-stress.
Sometimes mother does know best…I’m shocked to admit!