Thursday, March 9, 2017

Mental Health Days

Last Tuesday, I gave myself a Mental Health Day off from my regularly scheduled life. I decided on the Sunday that I would take a day out to go dress shopping, go see a movie, and generally pootle about NOT working, NOT doing housework or chores, and NOT doing family stuff. Just for the 6.5 hours the kids were at school, I thought, I'll have a little break. February was a very challenging month, and I felt like I needed it.

Well, my plan was almost derailed - typically - by a sick kid, as I had to go fetch my 8 year old home from school at lunchtime on Monday. I was resigned to losing my MH day, but miraculously, she woke up alright on the Tuesday and went to school (she got sick again that night and ended up being home Weds-Thurs, so this was literally the only day I could've done this).

I went to a shopping centre, drank fancy hot chocolate, looked at dresses, and took myself to a session of "Hidden Figures" (which I absolutely loved). The whole time, I felt slightly guilty but not very much. I really, really needed the time out, and I'm sure it did me good. I went back to my work and caring duties on the Wednesday very refreshed.

So, with this in mind, I've decided I'm going to schedule myself another Mental Health Day before term one holidays start at the end of March ... but this time I am NOT announcing a date for it, EVEN IN MY OWN MIND, so the universe has less prospect of messing with me! I'll just play it by ear and seize the day when the moment is right.

I mean, I'm much luckier than most - I take at least half, and sometimes all, of every second Wednesday off to have time with my partner (we do brunch or lunch, and occasionally catch a show); and I usually knock off for the week by 2:30pm on Fridays so I can ease into the weekend with the kids. Sometimes, too, I take a whole day out from work to stack appointments for me and the kids if I need to (it IS possible to do passport photos, haircuts, dentist, physio, PT, doctor and kids' extracurricular classes x 2 all in one day - ask me how I know!) Although multiple-appointment days are hardly relaxing, the fact that I can do them without finagling leave from work is a great boon, and I am very aware of that.

That said, taking a weekday once a month-ish to do no work, no housework, and no running around is a different level of great. And I just thought to myself - well, why shouldn't I? I've accepted all the risks of freelancing, some of which bite quite hard (the uncertainty of income thing is a huge one); why shouldn't I occasionally get some personal, rather than familial, benefit from the way I work?

Call it a self-employment perk, or a self-indulgence even, if you like; but as long as I'm able to, I'm going to have a 4- to 6-weekly Mental Health Day.


  1. Hear, hear! And apart from the fact that it in NO WAY needs to be's amazing sometimes how a break is as good as a holiday and that translates into more productivity in general. Enjoy!

  2. :-D As luck would have it, I didn't manage one before end of term - but I have made plans to meet a friend for lunch in the city in the first week of term 2!