How to Make the Most of Your Next Mental Health Day

Interview with Tonya O’Neill


There comes to time in all of our lives where we feel tired, uninspired, or unmotivated. The trouble with this is between our busy schedules and demanding workloads, whether it be picking the kids up from school, meeting deadlines, attending social events or spending quality time with loved ones, our lives tend to get a bit overwhelming. When this happens it’s common to feel drained, emotional, or just plain tired. 

Defined as: mental health day: a day that an employee takes off from work in order to relieve stress or renew vitality. 

Recently, I was texting with one of my girlfriends. She had mentioned that over the weekend she took a day off to recharge, turn off her phone, disconnect from all distractions, and be in her own element to regain that focus and vitality we all require to be productive, functional, and oh so charming. After discussing the topic more with her and learning about her positive experience, we agreed to put together an interview. 

Tonya is a wonderful mother to two beautiful children. A loving wife to one of my best friends. And thankfully, a dear friend to me. She is a bright and level headed young woman who teaches me something new every time we talk. 

After you read the Q&A below, please feel free to send us any questions or suggestions you may have. We hope this article will inspire you to take a day off next time you’re beginning to feel a bit burnt out. 


1. How would you describe the meaning of taking a Mental Health Day?

Tonya: Essentially, to take a Mental Health Day means that you dedicate 24 hours to yourself and only yourself. You will use this time to practice self-care and recharge which is very crucial in the busy day to day life that most of us live. It is ideal that you take this time to be alone and disconnect from all technology or any other distractions you may have. Yes, that also means disconnecting from work and even household responsibilities. This will allow you to dive deep into your Mental Health Day and get the most out of your time. 

For me, Mental Health Days consist of a lot of journaling, sleep, bubble baths, essential oils, exercise, being outdoors, and just being still. I make my Mental Health Days non-negotiable. So, I plan for it in advance. I take the day off work and arrange a babysitter.

2. What are some signs it’s time to step back and take a Mental Health Day?

Tonya: If you notice that you are irritable, reactive, stressed, extremely tired, lacking focus, unmotivated or uninspired and you just can’t seem to shake it. Then you may want to consider a Mental Health Day.

3. What are some activities or means of relaxation you can recommend to our readers so they can make the most of their Mental Health Day?

Tonya: I suggest prior to your Mental Health Day that you take the time to write out all the things you enjoy doing. Then when the day comes you choose the activities from your list that feel right for that day. It can be big, small, expensive or inexpensive. Some examples you may write down are meditation, baths, journaling, taking a walk, playing an instrument, having a massage or spa day, visiting the beach. One of my favorites is napping.

4. What are some essential tools to have with you during this sensitive time?

Tonya: You want to be sure to have plenty of water and healthy foods. You are recharging your body during this time so you absolutely do not want to fill up on junk food or sodas.

Another very important tool is to let a loved one know what you are doing and where you will be at all times. This is key because you will be disconnected from all technology and relationships. This will keep you safe and also prevent a loved one reporting a missing person!

5. What can our readers expect the outcome to be?

Tonya: They can expect to feel energized, motivated, have a clear mind, and increased happiness.

Image via We Heart It

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