We all need a mental health day once in awhile. The stress of life can definitely take a toll, and without allowing ourselves to relax and reboot, it only makes us feel more and more exhausted and worn down.
Alison Ross is a psychologist and an adjunct associate professor of psychology at City College of New York. She believes that self-care is critically important to mental health, and she describes “self-care” as “taking a few moments on a regular basis to check in with oneself, to take stock of how they’re doing emotionally and physically. Are they exhausted? Overwhelmed? Burned-out? Stressed out? Completely depleted? Many people don’t do this in an ongoing way; they just go, go, go with regards to their work life and their home life, and this contributes to feelings of unhappiness, resentment and a sense of hopelessness about being on an endless treadmill they can’t get off of.”
While it can be easier said than to sometimes to make time for some much needed me-time, that doesn’t negate the fact that it is important to do so. For example, moms never really get a day off. Whether or not a mom stays home or works outside the home, the job of being a mom doesn’t stop. We love our kiddos, but sometimes it can feel like an endless treadmill.
Taking a break can do wonders for one’s mental wellbeing, and if that’s true for adults, why not for kids? It’s been a few years since we were in school, but we still remember how school days felt endless at times and how homework, projects and due dates sometimes felt never ending. We always looked forward to a break from the norm, like a field trip or a snow day.
We can help our kids and their mental health by giving them a break from the norm and a way to relax. Caitlin Fladager found that out first hand. She picked up her 5-year-old daughter from kindergarten and wondered why the little girl seemed out of sorts. She wasn’t the happy little girl Caitlin knew and loved. She cried about anything and everything.
At first, Caitlin felt annoyed. She thought her daughter was too old to be acting this way. Then she took a step back and thought for a minute. She asked her daughter, “are you just having a draining day?” The little girl responded by hugging onto her mommy and saying, “I’m just tired mommy.”
Caitlin’s mommy heart came up with an idea. She treated her daughter to some special me-time. She says, “I drew her a lavender bubble bath, gave her a face mask, and lit some candles while she read her books and sipped on her apple juice.”
It seems that the relaxing bath and break from her usual life was just what the doctor ordered. Afterwards, Caitlin recalls, “she was a new kid. The kid I usually know. She was happy, had more energy, and was handling things better.”
We love this reminder that kids need time to recharge and refresh too. Perhaps next time our little ones are cranky and crying over everything, instead of getting annoyed, we’ll give them a hug a relaxing bath.
What do you do for me-time? Do you think kids need mental health days?