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Ideas for a mental health break

Life can be busy and, at times, stressful. When the stress starts to build, do yourself a favour and give yourself a break!

Stressed out woman at work

Getting stressed out can happen anywhere: at work, home or while busy running your kids to their activities and doing errands. When life starts to get you down, take some you-time with these quick activities to clear your head and get you back on track.

At work

  • Take a quick walk around the block.
  • Do some simple stretching in your office.
  • Run up and down a few flights of stairs.
  • Get out of the office and into the fresh air. Head to a close-by park and do some breathing exercises.
  • Read a few passages from a motivational website or book.
  • Take time to daydream.
  • Go window shopping on your break.
  • Enjoy people-watching at lunch.
  • Head to the gym.
  • Meet your best friend at lunch or on a coffee break.
  • Get out your iPod and listen to soothing music.

At home

  • Watch a favourite comedy show.
  • Pop in a feel-good movie, make a bowl of popcorn and relax.
  • Have a tickle fight with your kids.
  • Call up a friend and have a gabfest.
  • Take your dog to the dog park and watch him run and play.
  • Cuddle in with your pets.
  • Have some yummy comfort food, such as mac and cheese or homemade soup.
  • Bake chocolate chip cookies.
  • Dim the lights, light a few candles and take a hot bath with lavender-scented bath oil.
  • Go through old photos and relive the memories.
  • Have a 20-minute nap to refresh your mind.
  • Put on some great music and dance.
  • Immerse yourself in a hobby. Try painting, crafting or photography.
  • Get lost in a good book.
  • Write positive affirmations in a gratitude journal.
  • Take up gardening.

While out and about

  • Take a break at your local coffee shop. Have a calming herbal tea and watch the world go by.
  • Stop into an art gallery and lose yourself in the beauty you see.
  • Turn up the radio in your car and sing out loud.
  • Practise random acts of kindness on strangers.
  • Pop into a pet store and watch the fish in the aquarium.
  • Stop at a park and enjoy the serenity of nature.
  • Bring out your camera and take photos of things that inspire you.
  • Head to the zoo to watch the apes and monkeys.
  • Take time to smell the roses (as well as the other flowers) at a botanical garden or garden centre.
  • Take a power walk through your neighbourhood.

More on stress

Natural ways to combat stress
5 Foods to improve your mood
Depression and stress hurt health

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