50 Ways to Spend Your Next Mental Health Day

Health & Wellness

50 Ways to Spend Your Next Mental Health Day | Wit & Delight
Photo by Judith Marilyn

As previously seen on Wit & Delight

Editor’s Note: For anyone who’s looking for a bit of a break from the stressors that so often surround us in our daily lives, we’re sharing a post filled with tips and tools to help you take the kind of mental health day you need most. Consider them a friendly reminder to care of yourselves, as best you can, whenever you can.

For longtime readers of Wit & Delight, it will come as no surprise that my relationship to my mental health has been one of ups and downs over the years. I’ve dealt with ADHD, anxiety, and depression for as long as I can remember. Over time, I’ve better learned how to pick myself up off the proverbial floor on the days when my mental health takes a dive; I’ve begun to shift my mindset around how I approach bad days on the whole. Along the way, I’ve ever so slowly developed a list of steps I can take to help myself move forward on days when I’m not firing on all cylinders.

While it would certainly be ideal to have the option to take a mental health day whenever we need it, I’m the first to acknowledge that taking a full day off from work isn’t feasible for many of us. Even if you can’t afford to take a whole day off, there are tons of ways you can be better to yourself while at work, at home, and everywhere in between.

Today I’m sharing tips, tools, and some mental health activities we can turn to on the days we need them most, broken up into five of the less than ideal moods, scenarios, or the inevitable difficult times in which we all occasionally find ourselves.

You are feeling disorganized.

You wake up each day, putting out one fire after the other. Your mind races always and when one more task gets shoved onto your plate by someone else, you feel like a cup that is on the cusp of overflowing. Everything seems equally important. You don’t know how you’ll ever get on top of your life. There is just too much to do, and no time to do it. You often avoid these feelings by binge-watching your favorite show on Netflix or scrolling through social media.

How to spend your mental health day if you are feeling disorganized:

  1. Visualize what it would feel like to have an organized and peaceful mind.
  2. Write morning pages. Jot down all your disjointed thoughts on paper as they enter your brain.
  3. Prioritize a to-do list by the smallest, most straightforward tasks you can complete.
  4. Write down one task, complete it, cross it off, then write down your next task and repeat the process. Keep only one primary to-do on your plate at any given moment.
  5. File paperwork, receipts, and other clutter that accumulates in your wallet, drawers, and purse.
  6. Pay bills and set as many as you can to auto-pay.
  7. Start a new budget you can manage easily on your phone, like YNAB or Every Dollar.
  8. Follow up on texts, emails, and voice messages.
  9. Organize a small area of your bedroom, closet, or bathroom.
  10. Donate items that no longer serve you to charity or sell them.

Self-compassion is key here. There are days when my I feel my blood pressure rise and my heart rate skyrocket at the overwhelming amount of stuff that is EVERYWHERE. Know that you don’t have to organize everything at once. I highly recommend focusing on one item at a time. If all you can do with this time is write down a priority list for next time, you are on the right path.

You are craving connection.

You are finding yourself feeling tired and irritable after scrolling through social media. You obsess over what you could be missing—both socially and materially. You think about what you could have said or done differently during that one meeting, or that first impression. You have a dull itch you can’t seem to scratch, and emptiness that food and drink can’t fill. You feel uninspired and lack the energy to pursue your passions and hobbies. You feel isolated and overwhelmed all at once.

How to spend your mental health day if you are craving connection:

  1. Get out of the house.
  2. Call a friend.
  3. Take a dog for a walk.
  4. Babysit.
  5. Pay for a stranger’s coffee.
  6. Journal.
  7. Take a mental health day with someone who is supportive and has ethical boundaries.
  8. Cook something you love to make.
  9. Do something that sparks creativity like painting, sculpting playdough, or taking pictures on a walk through a park.
  10. Volunteer or donate to a charity.

Craving connection can leave your energy levels drained and can bring on feelings of isolation. By actively seeking out meaningful interactions and engaging in group activities that foster connection and a sense of community, you can fill that void and rejuvenate your spirit. Whether it’s spending quality time with a friend, volunteering, or simply stepping out into the community, these actions can help you rediscover a sense of belonging and purpose. Nurturing relationships and connecting with others are vital for your mental well-being, so take small steps to reach out and engage with the world around you.

You need to reset.

You’ve been feeling negative on most days—uninspired, dull, without the fire or passion you once had for experiencing life. You feel as if your relationships are heavy, and you’re unable to see the bright side in most situations. You feel like the worst case is always on the cusp of coming into fruition. You’re down. You’re worn thin. You can’t see a way out of your current situation. You crave a new perspective. A fresh start. A clean slate.

How to spend your mental health day if you need to reset:

  1. Take a restorative yoga class and focus only on your breathing.
  2. Schedule an appointment for a sound bath or sensory tank.
  3. Speak with an energy reader, therapist, pastor, or someone who specializes in giving guidance and counseling to bring what matters into focus.
  4. List your definition of a perfect day.
  5. Make a list of what keeps you up at night and make a vow to set yourself free from the heaviness those things carry, as best you can.
  6. Sweat it out with some physical activity; try a run or brisk walk.
  7. Hang out with plants by gardening, pulling weeds, or planting an indoor herb garden.
  8. Walk through a guided meditation on shifting your energy and clearing out negative energy.
  9. Watch a funny movie or visit with a friend you know can make you laugh.
  10. Cry if you can.

When you feel the need to reset, it’s essential to give yourself permission to pause and recharge. Taking time for activities that renew your energy and shift your perspective can help you break free from negative cycles and restore your zest for life. Whether it’s through physical movement, a creative outlet, or seeking guidance from trusted sources, these practices can help clear the mental fog and reinvigorate your spirit. It’s okay to take a step back and reset; doing so can provide the clarity and motivation needed to move forward with a refreshed outlook.

You need a little self-love.

Your favorite way to blow off steam is to put yourself through a rigorous 8-mile run. You feel like a failure if you don’t check every box on your to-do list each day. You’re constantly focusing on where you came up short. You obsess about the future and how you’ll be able to live up to your “potential,” and often forget to live in the moment. Your thighs, your stomach, the way your arms look in that dress all fall short of your expectations. You are your own harshest critic and your self-esteem is at an all-time low.

How to spend your mental health day if you need a little self-love:

  1. Get plenty of sleep.
  2. Try yoga or therapeutic massage with essential oils.
  3. Get a mani-pedi.
  4. Get your hair colored or get a fresh haircut.
  5. Add a Himalayan salt lamp to your office or home.
  6. Buy yourself something you’ve been saving up to purchase.
  7. Enjoy some silence.
  8. Unplug and delete social media apps.
  9. List what you are grateful for in your life.
  10. Journal about the positive impact you’ve made on others’ lives.

When self-criticism becomes overwhelming, taking a mental health day to focus on self-love can be incredibly healing. Engaging in activities that nurture your body and mind, such as getting enough sleep, indulging in a relaxing massage, or simply unplugging from social media, can help you reconnect with yourself. Self-reflection is the time to celebrate your achievements and practice gratitude, as these small steps can significantly boost your self-esteem. Embracing self-love means recognizing your worth and treating yourself with the kindness and compassion you deserve.

You’re procrastinating.

You know what you need to do but you can’t seem to find the motivation. You’ll work through problems in your head, exploring every possible solution, but you’ll fail to take the first step toward action. You can’t figure out why it is so hard to translate your momentum into action. You get things done, but only when someone else imposes a deadline. You feel out of control—like you have lost your own agency and ability to self-manage life.

How to spend your mental health day if you’re procrastinating:

  1. Get up on time and get dressed.
  2. Tackle one or two tasks you’ve been putting off for a while—whether that be a few days or a few months.
  3. Plan where and when you’ll do the tasks you can’t seem to make time for.
  4. List all the reasons you haven’t been able to complete a certain task and work through a solution for each one.
  5. Set a timer for ten minutes and commit to working on one task with 100% focus for the entire length of time.
  6. Think about the simplest and easiest first step toward getting a big goal accomplished.
  7. Write a contract to yourself outlining one way you’ll commit to keeping on top of daily tasks each day.
  8. Plan the rest of your week based on what work excites you the most.
  9. Write down the most important thing you can do for yourself this week and a plan for getting it done.
  10. Read a book on making small changes like Atomic Habits or The Power of Habit.

When procrastination takes over, it’s crucial to break the cycle by taking small, manageable steps toward action. Starting with simple tasks and gradually building momentum can help you regain control and boost your productivity. By planning and prioritizing, you can address the underlying reasons for your procrastination and develop strategies to overcome them. Progress, no matter how small, is still progress. Embrace each accomplishment and use it as motivation to keep moving forward. Taking a mental health day to focus on these steps can be the first move toward reclaiming your agency and building a more productive routine.

Mental Health Activities for Different Settings

You don’t have to take a day off or leave your environment for a mental boost! There are mindfulness activities and self-care practices can be done anywhere.

At Home:

  • Practice mindfulness meditation using apps like Headspace or Calm.
  • Create a cozy reading nook and spend time with a favorite book.
  • Try out new recipes that are both healthy and comforting.

At Work:

  • Take short, frequent breaks to stretch or walk around the office.
  • Set up a mini relaxation corner with a plant, stress ball, and calming scents.
  • Use noise-canceling headphones to create a focused work environment.


  • Go for a hike in a local nature reserve. Routine exercise, even a walk around the block, can do wonders for your mental health.
  • Join a community garden and spend time tending to plants.
  • Participate in outdoor yoga or tai chi classes.

Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Take the time to care for yourself, and don’t hesitate to share these tips with friends and family. Together, we can create a culture that values and supports mental well-being.

If you’re looking for tools to help you plan out your week and prioritize the tasks that need completing, check out our line of planning tools available wherever our products are sold, including Target and Anthropologie.

BY Kate Arends - September 20, 2020

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September 21, 2020 6:38 am

I feel like this whole article was written for me… needed this today! thank you

September 22, 2020 3:41 pm

I love this! I’m a person that loves lists. So, this is great!

Denise Dvorak
September 24, 2020 3:12 pm

Me too, thank you.💝

September 28, 2020 10:58 am

Thank you for this! I love how the tips are categorized so that when you’re burned out, it easier to identify a helpful action based on what you’re specifically feeling. This is so helpful!

October 14, 2020 7:17 am

What great advice, just what I need. At one time I was faced with emotional burnout 🙁 I gave myself to work 100%, and this is what I realized, the more a person gives, the more requests become. At some point it becomes obvious that there is still so much to do, but and there is less and less warmth every day! If at such moments you do not give yourself a break, do not replenish your mental strength, the health and mental state of the person will be in jeopardy. I was helped in the clinic – https://www.startstemcells.com/ where… Read more »

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