I first heard the term "mental health day" my junior year in college. Coming up the stairs for an afternoon class, I saw one of my dormmates in her jammies sitting on the step.
"Are you okay?" I asked.
"Yes, I just needed to take a M.H.D.," she replied.
"A mental health day. I was just feeling so overwhelmed with papers and finals that I just needed a take a day off."
Back in college, I still suffered from The Black Women Superhero Syndrome, so I was quick to dismiss Christine as whiny and privileged. But NOT now. Since I done boxed up that cape, them boots, and them tights, I feel no guilt or shame or indignation for engaging in mental self-care and neither should you.
Here are a few signs that you are in need of a mental health day.
You are irritable: You snap at everything. I mean everything: it's too hot; it's too cold; everybody is breathing too hard; everyone is smiling too wide. Maybe you need to take the day and go to a park, a mindless movie, or a kickboxing class.
You are losing and misplacing things: Glasses, keys, wallet, shoes, or anything else that you regularly use. This means that you are moving way too fast. You probably wake up feeling that you are 20 minutes behind schedule. Perhaps a nice lazy day in front of the television picking lint out of your belly button will slow things down enough for you to feel that you have regained control over your life.
You speak incoherently: Incoherence takes two forms. You start a sentence but never complete it. On the other hand, you start a sentence and never stop talking or get to the point. With both forms, you may be speaking really, really fast or really, really slow. Both reveal that you are running low on sleep and energy and need to focus. Take a day of sleep, pray, and meditation to get yourself centered.
You are losing interest in grooming: Taking a showering, running a comb through your hair or a toothbrush across those teeth becomes a chore and a burden, so you stop attending to your hygiene. Maybe instead of going out into the world like this, take a day or two to relax and recover from having to be responsible and on point all the time.
You are spending a lot of money without reason: When you are pressed to the hilt, you may resort to shopping to relieve your stress. The more stress you have, the more outlandish and extravagant your purchases become. Try taking a day to luxuriate at home with a spa treatment.
You have severe crying episodes: If you have been ignoring these emotions by doing "business as usual," believe me, you are headed for a breakdown. Take control of your emotional health by taking the time to speak to someone about what is going on. It could be a professional, a spiritual leader, or someone that you can trust.
Are you in need of a mental health day? What signs are letting you know that you need a M.H.D ?