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  • Writer's pictureAndrea Boyd

Time For A Mental Health Sabbatical

I think we could all use a little mental health sabbatical right about now. I’m no therapist but I’ve made up a list based on common sense, experience, and research that I hope you’ll find helpful.

Pamper yourself- This is probably the most obvious suggestion for relieving anxiety but maybe you need the reminder. Take a long, hot bath or shower. Use some scented oil or a sugar scrub. Even trimming/painting your nails can be pampering.

Coloring- no longer just for kids! There are a plethora of adult coloring books out there and mediums to use with them. I won’t even judge you if crayons are still your favorite. The one I use has Biblical sayings. Or if you want to feel more like a grownup, you can always start with a blank canvas and some paint. I have those too, but so far it’s still just blank canvas and bottled paint. I’ll let you know if I ever do anything with it.

Crafting- It can be something you already enjoy or take up something new. Here’s an idea that cost absolutely nothing. Try making a wreath from things found in your yard. A wreath, maybe?

Try something new- I’ve already suggested trying a new craft, but it could be anything really. I recently visited a local museum that I’d never been to before. It had me looking around at what else I had been missing out on right here in my own neighborhood. Which in turn has gotten me out of the house and away from dwelling on the world’s problems.

Nature walk- Worried about going into public buildings and getting too close to other people? Take it outdoors! I bet there’s a state park nearby with miles of sparsely used trails waiting for you to visit.

Listening to music/singing- If you’re like me, maybe your singing voice is best for a smaller audience—like just yourself. So what? Next time you’re alone, crank up the music and sing to the top of your lungs. It might even inspire a little dancing, which also helps get the feel-good juices flowing.

Family Meal- Just planning and cooking the meal is a joy for me but if that seems like a chore to you, order takeout. The important thing is to spend time with the ones you love.

Games- While you’ve got the family together, pull out a game to play. My family’s favorite is Wild Rummy played with two decks. Even a game played by yourself on your phone can be a great distraction.

Journaling- Getting those feelings out of your head and onto paper can help put things into perspective.

Reread your favorites- Sometimes when you’re stressed, it’s hard to get into a new book, which for an avid reader this only adds to the stress. Try revisiting your old favorites.

Psalms- Psalms (most of them) can be the most comforting part of the Bible.

Do something nice for someone else- Believe it or not, doing something for someone else is a great way to boost your own spirits. Volunteer, get involved in community outreach, make a meal for a sick friend—it doesn’t have to be time consuming or complicated. My church fills backpacks for children in need at this time of year. I have gotten more joy from finding items for those kids than I have anything in a long time.

Got any suggestions to add? I’d love to hear them!



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