We all have those days when we feel burned out, tired, and at our wit’s end. If it’s during the workday, we might try to power through the feeling of overwhelm and burnout. We try to focus and to be productive but soon, we’ll be distracting ourselves with YouTube and TikTok videos. But trying to power through isn’t always the best thing to do. Sometimes, the smart thing to do at 2 pm in the afternoon is to take a mental health break.
When I’m having one of those days, when it’s clear that I’m just pushing paper around and getting little done, there are a few things that like to do.
Here are my top five!
You’ve probably heard the phrase, dance like no one is watching. Well, let’s just say I really take this advice to heart. With a couple of glasses of wine (because one won’t do) and a 2-hour playlist, I just go for it. Unless the house is burning down or my neighbors complain about the noise (they never do), I will work up a sweat dancing to hip-hop or EDM. I will ignore the dings on my phone and get completely lost in the music. When I’m done doing this, I feel nice and tingly, and usually euphoric.
2. Shopping at Home Goods
I will go to Home Goods to see what’s new in kitchenware, bedding, and storage solutions. This escape is such a healthy distraction for me because decorating and keeping my home organized, is something else that gets me off. After 3 hours in Home Goods and with new bed linens, potholders, ovenware, mugs, and a stash of healthy snacks in my cart, I’m feeling irie again.
3. Altadena Public Library
This is one of the most special libraries I’ve ever seen. Situated in an area of San Gabriel Valley, California, that feels like it was kissed by God, this library is one of my favorite ways to take a mental health break. Thanks to a floor-to-ceiling glass wall at this library, you get an expansive view of the outside. The periodicals section where I go to flip through Dwell and The Oprah Magazine feels like the comfy mid-century reading room I would have in my home if I had space for a reading room.
The library carries an impressive list of recently released and new DVDs, they have a great media section where you might find a free class in Video Editing in the afternoon. In the photo above, you’re looking at an area of the library where you can play chess just by sitting across from someone else who is playing. They even have a sewing machine you can use! This library is like a sophisticated adult community center and one of my favorite places to clear my head and reclaim my zen.
4. Park Life
On any given day, you can find people from all socioeconomic backgrounds sharing Bryant Park with pigeons scrounging for their fallen crumbs. The park services folks manage to keep Bryant Park almost spotless, which has to be some kind of feat when you consider how many people hang out in the park on an average day. And when I used to work in that tall green building in the photo above, this used to be one of my favorite ways to clear my head. I would hang back after lunch and sit for a couple of hours enjoying park-life. If you were to see me, you’d think I was a Times Square tourist, not someone playing hookey from work.
5. The Internet
I’m not alone in using the internet during the workday to escape, however, how I use the internet is a little different than most. I use it to find cheap airfares to Mexico or to plan a vacation. I can get back to work with something great to look forward to. Believe me, when a trip to Tulum or Jamaica is on the horizon, stress and overwhelm don’t stick around.
Christine is a Life Strategist and Emotional Health Coach living in Los Angeles. She's big on meditation and believes in systems and routines, and in personalizing everything you do to help you get where you want to be.