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25 Photos That Show What a 'Mental Health Day' Really Looks Like

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Every once in a while, we just can’t. This means something different for everyone.

Maybe you just can’t go to work, because anxiety and fear have taken over. Maybe you just can’t do the errands you were supposed to, because even taking a shower seems like an impossible task. Maybe you’re adjusting to a new medication, and need life to pause for even a few hours so you can get used to what’s going on in your brain.

Every once in a while, we all need a break. And when we do, it can be nice to take a mental health day. But a mental health day doesn’t need to be some fancy spa day or an elaborate vacation. It doesn’t even need to be a whole day! It can mean lying on your couch, resting your mind. It can mean doing something you enjoy for an afternoon. There’s no “right way” to take a break, and we hope the pictures below from our community give you some inspiration for when you get to take some much-deserved space for your mental health.

Here’s what a mental health day can look like, according to our community:

1. “Cuddling with my bear always alleviates some of the pain and I always spend the day reading. I actually almost finished an entire book yesterday due to my out-of-control mental breakdown I was about to have, but reading calms me down.” — Brynna W.

A woman taking a selfie with a teddy bear

2. “When I’m feeling overwhelmed, I like to be outside and in nature with the sun on my face. Just makes me feel weightless and free, listening to all the sounds and feeling the heat! I also like to take photos/be a bit arty and creative, that eases my anxiety.” — Lauren S.

3. “A mental health day for me is a good book and some good old chai tea alone in my room.” — Marie T.

4. “It’s not always a day I can manage self-care. Sometimes I need mental health days to just cry and panic. Because sometimes things just can’t be ‘normal.’” — Alicia E.

5. My mental health day was leaving my room for something other than classes and work. All we did was drive around and we turned the music up high to allow ourselves to get lost in our heads. Being in the company with someone who cares enough about me to continuously ask to go for a drive made my anxiety battle take less of a toll on me. Knowing I was safe made me feel a little bit better. It was less of a mental health day and more of a mental health hour before my anxiety started getting bad again, but for me to barely notice it for a short amount of time was all I really needed.” — Alyssa C.

6.Sometimes I just can’t ‘human’ anymore and nothing makes me happier than time spent with my woolbabies. They don’t judge, they don’t lie, they don’t want to hurt me. Their innocence is what keeps me going.” — Katala S.

7. “Often, I start the day with a list of appointments and things to accomplish for the day. Then my intentions can become overshadowed by my PTSD flashbacks, anxiety and overwhelming sense of loss. I tend to store up my emotions until they tumble out, uncontrollably. Here I am on one particularly difficult day where I actually canceled therapy and stayed in bed. This is a screenshot of a video I made for my therapist.” — Martha F.

8. “A few days after I had gotten out of the mental health unit, I had a full day Saturday class. I decided at lunch time I could no longer stay in class and decided to leave class early to go pumpkin picking with my partner. It was so very necessary at the time to just spend time with her instead of trying to focus in class.” — James T.

9. “My mental health day is me crying a lot and then making myself feel better/distracting myself from suicidal thoughts and wanting to self-harm by doing my makeup. I love makeup and whenever I need to relax, calm down and have a day to myself, it’s full of makeup, YouTubers and bubble baths.” — Alexis D.

10. Sometimes I just need to do nothing at all. Life moves way too fast sometimes and it’s good to just have a day to myself to chill out on the sofa with my dog and not have to think about or do much of anything!” — Nicola W.

11. “Some time alone in the park, walking and listening.” — Steve B.

12. Coloring and music! It always helps to relax and ground me. (Also, my mental health days usually end up involving lots of sleeping/cuddling my dogs).” — Emily S.

13. “Mental health day is me with my cats.. Sleeping playing and sleeping some more.” — Maha D.

14. Walks always help clear your head, especially at this time of year.” — Georgia C.

15. “I took a mental health day on the anniversary of my sexual assault. I went to the Mall of America, specifically the aquarium and the theme park inside of it. The loud noises there and the serenity of the aquarium helped a lot.” — Caissa C.

16. “Self-care is always important when symptoms seem to be out of control. Face masks are a way for me to relax myself and try to reset my thoughts. I know it looks funny, but it helps.” — Jonna L.

17. “When my job was not working out and I was getting picked on severely by a staff member, I took a mental health day and I always go to the beach. The waves and the ocean are so calming for me.” — Liz M.

18. “A lot like hiding and avoiding.” — Leslie C.

19.I’m a huge animal lover, so my dog always helps me on my worst days. He lets me cuddle the crap out of him when I don’t have the strength or energy to do anything else, then gets me out of bed for some fresh air when I feel ready. He’s technically not an emotional support dog, but it’s scary to think where I’d be without him.” — Katie K.

20. “My kitty Nuggie sleeps in my hair when I have a migraine. His purring in my ear is soothing. He also nuzzles my ears and eyelashes, and softly bites the cheeks. He is an anxiety soother.” — Michelle G.

21. “Basically, I just lie in bed/on the couch sleeping all day. It isn’t the healthiest in hindsight, but it definitely helps.” — Krysta R.

22. “Nature is my happy place. This happens to be the view from one of my favorite parks. Something about being in nature reminds me there’s still beauty in the world no matter how dark and miserable my own life may feel. It really helps me keep things in perspective.” — Megan P.

23. “Mental health day is never leaving my bed. Lots of sleep, lots of not being touched by anyone, phone on airplane mode. Nothing stimulating. Just resetting my senses.” — Rebecca N.

24. “I didn’t understand why I was having an anxiety attack. Why those feelings were happening. But I knew I was suffering from a severe panic attack and I took a picture to document it. This is what anxiety looks like, for me anyway. It’s pain, and it’s real. Hopefully sharing this picture will help end the stigma around mental illness. This is how I spent my mental health day. This is how I spend a lot of them.” — Melissa G.

25. “This is only a small sample of what I might do on a mental health day. I use the list to gain control in my daily habits. It says that I have to eat three meals a day and what I can eat for breakfast, so I don’t have to think, but just do what it says. It also say things like showering and watering the plants, etc. Basically it is a guide to what a ‘normal’ day might look like. Crocheting and drawing is a way to calm down and focus on something simple. I like the repetitiveness of making details or crocheting.” — Sanne V.

What do your mental health days look like? Tell us in the comments below:

Originally published: October 12, 2018
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