What TV Can Teach Us About Mental Health Days
(Spoiler alert: In this post I will discuss Insecure Season 3, Episode 4: “Fresh-Like”)
In this week’s episode of HBO’s Insecure, leading lady Issa Dee leaves work for a quick lunch at her favorite taco joint and never goes back. Sure it may seem on the surface that she just takes the afternoon off to show Nathan, a potential new love interest, around her dear Los Angeles. Yet, watching her call her colleague Frieda to cancel their afternoon meeting, I couldn’t help but think: Issa needs this time away from work for so many reasons. Firstly, the not-so-subtle racist and toxic environment of her all white non-profit (which of course serves all students of color) is starting to make Issa sick. Secondly, her boss, threatened by Issa’s honesty about issues with the organization, has iced her out of the one part of work Issa enjoyed. Thirdly, she met someone recently at a job fair who runs a music program much more in line with her passion. Since that meeting, Issa has been considering switching jobs and sharing her own love of music with students.
Several times throughout this (and last week’s episode) we see Issa surveying her office, her eyes passing over colleagues who can’t connect with her. She feels isolated, unfulfilled, and burnt out. So when Nathan shows up at her favorite lunch spot, offers the chance to help Issa step out of the microaggression minefield, show off her city and even get into a little fun, she takes it. She calls work to let them know she is under the weather (which is true, emotionally-speaking) and she sets off with a new friend. The pair explores different neighborhoods and end up going skinny dipping in Issa’s childhood home. I love how Issa takes the plunge into putting herself first. The next day when Issa goes back into work, she is clearheaded from her time away and is able to confidently resign from her position.
Now, you may not feel the need to leave your current job, but however passionate you may be about your work, everyone is in need of a break. If you had a bad cold, you would (or should!) stay home. So when you find yourself at your wit’s end, not wanting to put on the mask or just downright tired of being tired, perhaps a mental health day is just what the doctor ordered!
Now that I’ve convinced you it’s time for a break…here are some ways to spend it:
- Get a massage or other type of healing (reiki, energy, acupuncture etc.). Nothing says mental health day like allowing someone to help heal your body which will also help heal your mind.
- Think about ways you can better connect with your community. Are there neighbors, religious groups, activists, organizations , groups or even old friends you’ve been meaning to connect with? Give them a call or just show up and say hello! It’s amazing who you can talk to when you are free during 9-5.
- Go to your favorite gym class during the day. You may actually be able to find a spot and not get sweated on.
- See a daytime movie and treat yourself to lunch. In today’s hyperconnected world it is important we can learn to take ourselves out on a date.
- Make a list of goals. Maybe it’s for the week, month, year or five years. What is always in the back of your mind that you need to bring up front? What is it that is making work so stressful or unfulfilling?
- Re-organize/decorate/clean your home. Make it the space you want it to be and a place of comfort for the days you do have to come home after work.
- Spend an hour or two outside. Take a walk in the park, go swimming (like Issa did!), try your hand at gardening, shoot the hooch, sit on a bench and watch the ducks, or go apple picking. Let your body get reacquainted with vitamin D.
- Read an engaging novel or listen to an audiobook. There’s nothing wrong with a little healthy escapism.
- Get creative. Do you like to paint, draw, make Fall decorations, sing and dance around your living room? Have at it! Doesn’t have to be pretty. Remember you don’t have to share your creations if you don’t want to. Today is about you!
- Sit still. Better yet, let your mind be still. I know, most of my clients look at me like I have two heads when I ask them to try and slow down, to observe, to use all their senses even just for a few minutes, but there’s a reason mindfulness has become so popular. Give it a try. Figure out what your brain is running from and maybe then, you can begin to address it.
However you spend your mental health day, know that there is no guilt or shame in taking charge of your well-being. Your body, mind, and even your boss, will thank you.
Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash
The content on this website is not intended to diagnose or treat, it is for informational purposes only. Please call our office at 404-618-1040 for an appointment or contact a mental health professional in your local area if you are seeking treatment.