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Mental Health Days

April 30, 2010

Have you ever taken a ‘Mental Health Day’?

You know what I mean…  Playing hooky from your job!  Calling in “SICK”…

Did you go to the beach?  Did you eat ice cream and watch movies?  Maybe you decided to go shopping!

If you think that calling in “SICK” to run ERRANDS is what I mean, then think again.

A Mental Health Day is a day that you take COMPLETELY for YOU!!  You and your well-being.

The value of taking time off and taking time for your self is sorely underrated!  Many of us think that taking time off means getting personal stuff done.  That’s not what I mean.

Let me explain…

Several years ago, a friend of mine graduated from Massage School.  She offered to do some work on me as a gift to celebrate.  (Hey, it didn’t make sense to me either, but I NEVER turn down free bodywork!)  When she finished after almost 2 hours, she said, “Erin, take the rest of the day off.  Go do something you enjoy.”

At the time, I was in Grad School.  I wasn’t “working,” so I had the rest of the day “off”.  I thought I would just hang out at the apartment.  Yeah.  That would work.

She looked at me, no doubt sensing my thoughts of just “chillin,” and said “Go do something FUN.  You do know how to have fun, don’t you?”

Ha!  Busted.  She knew me.  She knew I had no intention of going “out there” to do something frivolous like having FUN…  Come on.  I’m an adult.  I’m an accountant.  I’m in Grad School.  I don’t have FUN anymore.  It’s irresponsible…

Well, today, I am learning the value of taking time off with no direction or intention other than just for the sheer “joy” of it…  Or in my case, the necessity of learning HOW to…

Over the past couple of years, I have been searching for my IT.  (I swear I saw it around here somewhere…)

For those of you who have only met me recently, yes, you did hear me say “I am an accountant.”  That was one of my many previous incarnations.  I decided to give it up in favor of pursuing my calling…  I believe that it is to help people learn about well-being and achieving balance in their lives.

They say that you teach what you need to learn…  Well, my life was so catawampus that I had nothing much left in the house of fun.  All the ways I learned to let loose as a young adult were all the ways that cause cancer, stroke, or innumerable other problems or diseases.

Through my process of growth, I found that I had steadily meditated, prayed, and disciplined myself out of the very things that were keeping me sane!  Not that they were good for me, mind you.  But I had never refilled the empty space that they left behind.  I created even greater imbalance!

How the heck does THAT happen?!?  That’s the question I was asking myself.

Turns out, I was running around “trimming the fat” in my life, but not really looking to see if those areas were the causes of my challenges.  It’s like companies that think that if they are losing money, the only thing to do is to cut expenses.  (If you are the owner of one of those companies, STOP IT!  You’ll understand more in a minute.)

Have you ever gone to a hairstylist who just starts cutting and then sees what’s left to see if it looks right?  I haven’t…  Thank goodness!  That would be a DISASTER!  The stylist needs to have a plan.  She has to know what you want it to look like when she’s done…  And she works with what you have NOW.

If your stylist is really good and knows your hair, she may even be able to tell you if that style will really work for you or suggest changes to the style to make it fit you better.

With business, all expenses are NOT created equally.  Some are IMPERATIVE for the business to continue…  Thinking coffee?  No…  It’s more like MARKETING or COMMISSIONS.  If you cut areas that are driving the growth of your business, then you can probably expect to see your business growth tank.

But what does that have to do with taking time off to have FUN?!?

Well, when I went into my life slicing and dicing and surgically removing all the juicy bits, I was left with one DRY piece of nothing much.  I couldn’t figure out why I was bored and uninspired!  All I did was take out all the “bad” stuff, right?  I should be good to go!

What I found is that I left out creating space for me to recharge!

So, what do YOU do to recharge?

What makes your heart sing?

What is it that, when you do it, you forget all about time?

  1. Make a list.  Keep it handy.
  2. Set a date with yourself at least once a month, if not once a week.
  3. Do it!

You will be amazed at the clarity you’ll find.  Life is meant to be lived!  Joyously!

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