During my days in elementary school, my mother taught me about self-care.
I do not believe that she was intentionally teaching my sister and I about self care when she would declare a random day – Mental Health Day.
Mental Health Day did not come often but when it did it was outrageously exhilarating to elementary me.
Ok so Mom’s Mental Health Day was a day of lounging, eating something healthy and fuss free, and enjoying board games with some sort of dessert!
The most fascinating part about these Mental Health Days is that we stayed at home from work and/or school on these days. We just enjoyed each other’s company.
If we watched something on the television, it was a family movie that we all wanted to see. Since there were rarely movies that we all wanted to see, we rarely watched television on our special days.
Looking back, I see now that my mom had to carve out time for us as a family. Time that she was not rushing to go to work or trying to rest up for the next shift at work. She knew that our school work and her employment would be there once our day commenced…however, she must’ve been acutely aware that the easygoing, laid back time we shared together would be limited.
My sister and I are adults now and even living in the same town, it’s difficult to carve out a day when we can just share each other’s company. Work, school, family, church, and so on and so on gets in the way.
Neither me nor my sister have mom’s ingenuity to select the perfect day as a Mental Health Day. We’ve tried but we just don’t have the special touch my mom did.
Now when we try it feels forced and we are often busy trying to connect to the outside world on our devices and we just don’t accomplish a Mental Health Day.
But we remember those wonderful days that we shared with our mother and we marvel at how easily she pulled them off!
Back then once our day was over and life as we knew it returned, we were refreshed. Practically skipping joyfully on our way to school and/or work.
Our behavior at school and home improved and our relationship with each other grew.
I didn’t know it then but now I know that my mom taught me that self care is vitally important and it does not take much money.
I’m pretty sure that these mental health days likely occurred on my mom’s days off and on those rare half-days at school because my mom wouldn’t just let us miss a full regular school day
However, back then I was simply ecstatic that we were having fun with each other and just relaxing.
As I mention, I don’t have the magic formula my mom had to pull off a perfect mental health day; but mom gave me the guidelines on how to take care of myself regardless of what’s going on in the world or even in my world!
Mental Health Days in my home embodied what is now known as self-care and my mom was the best at it!