We’re all tempted to take a “mental health day” now and again. However, knowing when it is truly necessary for you and your children to take a day to relax and reset is imperative to get the most out of the experience. As parents, you know your children best, and if you see that their behavior, mood, and/or motivation are consistently and significantly different from what you typically see, it may be time to take a break. Once you realize the time has come to reset as a family, here are a few things you can do to make the experience as beneficial as possible:
- Commit to the day: In order to make the most out of your designated time off, you must truly commit to relaxing. Although it is hard to shut off from outside influences and commitments, do your very best. This means try not to check your email, do laundry, or have the kids work on anything for school. Allow all members of your family to unplug, literally and figuratively, for a day of restorative rest and relaxation.
- Plan ahead: Planning your mental health day ahead of time will allow you to make the most of the time off. How you spend this time will be dependent on what you and your children feel would be the most effective use of time. The day before, brainstorm as a family how you will use that time, being sure to include quiet time for recharging.
- Spend time with family: Spending time with your family without the pressures of everyday life will help you all to connect, which can lead to a decrease in anxiety and depression. In order to allow your children to have a true mental health day, as a family, commit to spending time together on whatever activity you choose, uninterrupted. This time will be meaningful and appreciated by your children more than you may know.
- Rest: Truly embrace the power of rest. Although naps may be long in their past, encourage your children to have some quiet time throughout the day. Read a book as a family, play a board game, or spend time exploring outside.
- Do something uniquely for you: Everyone’s version of relaxation looks slightly different. Encourage your child to find what activities and experiences they enjoy as a reset. This unique experience will help them to be prepared when they become overwhelmed in the future. It will also allow you to be thoughtful of what you, as a parent, need as an opportunity to relax after a long day.