Whether you’re at school, college or work, life can be really busy. When we’re busy, it can be difficult to find time to rest and take the time we need to look after ourselves. But, it’s really important for our mental health that we take time out.
Taking time out to rest and relax not only helps our bodies to have a break, but it is also important for our mental health. It can help you:
calm your thoughts down if you have had a busy day or you have a lot going through your mind
reflect on your day and how it made you feel
give you time to process your thoughts
switch off from your work or studies
have time to do activities that you enjoy, like reading, writing or going for a walk
feel refreshed from work, studying, or revising and more focussed when you start these tasks again
Taking time out to focus on yourself can help you to feel calm and in control. Whether it’s doing a hobby that you enjoy, going for a walk or doing some deep breathing, doing something for yourself can help you look after your mental health.
When our lives gets busy, it can feel like you are going from one thing to the next without having any time for yourself. It can build up and you may not always realise how busy you are. You might start to feel:
no longer in control of what is happening around you
panicky when a friend asks you about hanging out or you are given more work to do
If you are feeling this way, you are not alone and there are things you can do to feel better.
Tips to help you take time out
If you are struggling to take time out to look after your mental health, or you’re not sure where to start, take a look at our tips below.
Pause – try to make time during the day to take breaks. It can help if you plan ahead when that will be, especially if you are revising or doing school or uni work for long periods of time. You can write down a schedule for the day to help you remember to take breaks and when your breaks are. Pausing throughout the day can prevent stress from building up. Here are some ways you can pause:
Set a timer on your phone. When it goes off, stop what you are doing if you are able to, move your body position by stretching, or letting your shoulders drop.
Use a self-soothe box. A self-soothe box contains things that ground you and make you feel more relaxed. It can have some of your favourite things in to focus your mind on and away from your work.
Leave time in between tasks to stop, gather your thoughts, and have some moments of quiet before moving onto something else.
Get a drink or snack. Going to get a cup of tea or a biscuit will give you a moment to walk away from your work, pause and give you something else to focus on.
Listen to some of your favourite music or a podcast. It can help pause your thoughts from what you are working on. Focussing on the beats of the music or the conversation can make you feel calm and help you switch off from the task you are doing.
Take deep breaths – taking deep breaths after a stressful situation and concentrating on your breathing can have a calming effect and help you relax.
Close your eyes.
Take deep breaths in and out.
Think of your favourite place.
Focus on the place and picture yourself there.
What can you see? What can you smell? What can you feel?
Imagining being in your favourite place can take you away from your current stressful situation and help you relax and calm down.
Be mindful – be more aware of the present moment, including your thoughts and feelings, your body and the world around you. Some people call this awareness “mindfulness”. It can help you change the way you approach challenges and see them from a different point of view. Find out more and how you can practise mindfulness from our blog ‘How I practice mindfulness to improve my mental health’.
Taking time away from screens – sometimes, it can be hard to switch off when you get a lot of notifications, messages and alerts on your phone. When you are taking time out, try to relax by reading a book, writing in your journal or listening to music. For more ways to look after your mental health while on social media, take a look at our tips and advice.
Find a hobby – a hobby away from school or work can help you switch off and take time to do something you enjoy. It can be anything, but common hobbies include running, reading, drawing and writing.
Go for a walk – going for a walk during your lunchtime at work, or after school, can help you to take a break and find time to reflect on how you are feeling.
Meet a friend – spending time with a friend can help you take your mind off whatever is making you feel stressed. Whether that’s just sending a text, going for a walk together or having a phone call, chatting to someone you trust and talking things over can help you wind down.
If you are finding things overwhelming and you are struggling to cope, talk to someone you trust about how you’re feeling. You deserve the support you need.
source: Take time out | Take Time Out For Your Mental Health | YoungMinds