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How to fit mental health breaks into your day

man taking a mental health break by reading in the park

During our busy lives, we can easily forget to take care of our mental health, but making time for a mental health break doesn’t have to be difficult.

Most of us would love to be able to switch off for an hour during the day, but with work, studying, parenting, or all of the above, that is not possible.

There are some simple activities that you can fit easily into your daily routine that can support your mental wellbeing.

Mindful eating

Take a moment to be completely present when you sit down to eat your breakfast, lunch or dinner. Being mindful means being aware of the taste and smell of what you’re eating and taking time to enjoy the sensations. If you’re sitting in a park or by a window, take notice of your natural surroundings as you eat. Try not to let your mind wander – just stay in the moment.

Make time for exercise

Take a walk at lunch time, even if it’s just 5 or 10 minutes to walk around the block. If you work or live near a park, take a longer stroll and appreciate the green space.

Connect with loved ones

Connecting with people can help to improve your mood throughout the day. Send a message to friends, call a family member at lunchtime or after work.

You could even spend lunchtime with colleagues or classmates that you get on well with.

Take advantage of your commute

If you get the bus or train to work, school or college, take a few minutes to be mindful before you get lost in your phone or your book. Be aware of your surroundings, notice the view out of the window. You might try taking a few minutes to meditate by closing your eyes and saying some positive affirmations in your mind.

Write things down

We can become overwhelmed by thoughts. You might be thinking about what to have for dinner later, or worrying about your next meeting. Try writing these down or make a list of things to do – putting it down on paper can help to clear your mind.

Listen to music or a podcast

Hopefully you can find some time during the day to listen to a few of your favourite songs. It might be in the morning when you’re getting ready, on your commute or walk, or at lunchtime. If you have enough time, listen to a podcast you enjoy, or find a positive one like meditation or positive affirmations.

Set reminders

Set an alarm to go off a couple of times during the day to remind yourself to take a mental health break. Use this time to walk away from your desk, office or classroom for a few minutes, make a cup of tea or take a few deep breaths.

Limit your screen time

If you’re staring at a computer screen all day at work or school, make sure you take regular breaks away from the screen if you can. This will help to rest your eyes and your mind.

Put your phone down. It is so easy to get lost in social media or YouTube, and this can make us feel anxious or low. Log in for a few minutes, have a quick catch up, and then put your phone down.

If you need additional support…

Community Living Well can help to support your mental wellbeing. Our services can help you if you’re struggling with feelings of anxiety, stress or low mood. You don’t need to see your GP first – you can refer yourself quickly and easily.

National charity, Mind, has some mindfulness exercises and tips that you could try when you take a mental health break.


Author: Stewart Gillespie
Posted on: 22nd September 2022

SMART St Mary Abbots Rehabilitation and Training
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