I confess, I’m an introvert with extroverted tendencies and lately my commitments have started to wear me down. The last several weeks have been steadily busy both at work and in my personal life, so I haven’t given myself much time to be by myself. My lack of alone time has made me feel tired and anxious, so this month I scheduled two types of mental health days to lower my stress and anxiety levels, and “reset” for November.
On my first mental health day I let myself fall “off the grid”. After running some errands and catching up over a cup of coffee with my friend Gaby on Friday evening, I turned off my phone with the intention of not turning it back on until Sunday afternoon. Turning off my phone meant I could ignore all my social media and emails. I find it helpful to step away from my phone every once in a while because, even though I am physically alone, the constant notifications pull my attention away from focusing on myself and my well-being.
I spent most of Saturday cuddled up in bed, catching up on my favorite T.V. shows, and marathon-ing Rick & Morty. I snacked on hummus, olives, grilled artichokes, grilled bell peppers, pita, and some ice-cold cider. It was amazing! Even though I wasn’t doing anything really productive, not having my phone meant I was able to really relax. I get so used to multi-tasking between my phone and other things that I am not really present in what I am doing. Later in the day, I stopped watching T.V. and focused on my physical well-being. I did some total-body deep-stretching and gave a little extra time to my neck and shoulders (which accumulate tension throughout the work week when I sit at my desk). Afterwards, I tested out a new skincare routine to unclog my pores. One of the drawbacks of being suddenly becoming very busy is that I can’t find the time to do things like keep up a multi-step skincare routine.
I went all-out to pamper myself, including introducing a hair masque to my routine to revive my hair from the product-heavy styling I put it through. First, I took a warm shower, which was hot enough to produce some steam, but not too hot that it would dry out my skin. I thoroughly cleansed my hair and scalp using L’Oreal Paris Hair Expert Clay Pre-Shampoo Mask and Shampoo. I popped out of the shower, applied the hair masque, and waited twenty minutes to rinse it out. In the meantime, since my pores opened up with the steam in the shower, I used my Clarisonic and La Roche-Posay cleanser (which contains salicylic acid and aids the exfoliation process) to prepare my skin for my TLC face peel. After my peel, I washed with warm water (skipped drying my face) and immediately put on my Shea Moisture mud mask, to help draw out any really stubborn impurities in my pores. Leaving some water on your skin helps you avoid drying out your skin while mud or clay masks work their magic! I was pleased to see that this routine had brought out some of the congestion from around my chin, which I had been struggling with for weeks. Last–but not least–I popped on a hydrating sheet mask and called it a night.
After having a whole day of relaxation, I felt refreshed and ready to start my week by Monday morning. It didn’t hurt that I was also looking forward to a shorter week due to my scheduled mental-health day on Friday. I am fortunate that my current workplace encourages me to take a mental-health day every month, so this month I used that perk to create a three-day weekend for myself. This mental-health day ended up being an overall health day. I went to see my doctor for my annual exam, which I always dread, but know is necessary.
After my appointment, my sister and I went to Float for an amazing pastrami sandwich and ice cream floats. Sarah’s float was vanilla ice cream with pineapple soda, and I chose macadamia nut ice cream with cherry coke. It was nice to take a break from work to indulge in ice cream on a hot day, and not feel guilty for taking that time for myself. The extra day in weekend also allowed me the time to relax and get my laundry done and room clean, without making me feel like there wasn’t enough time to do it all.
Overall, I am working on creating a better balance between the busy and stressful times in my life with moments for myself. It’s funny that as I am writing this, I’m trying to get myself to calm down after the stress-fest that was World Series Game 5. I am already planning a quiet weekend to recover from the excitement of the World Series!
- World Mental Health Day was this past October 10, 2017.
- I am working on rearranging and tidying up my room so that it feels more peaceful and relaxing.
- Go Dodgers!!!