Independence Day: Why long weekends may be good for your mental health
As the sense of freedom fills the air and Independence Day approaches, there’s more than just patriotic celebrations to look forward to this year. As we anticipate the extended weekend that accompanies this cherished holiday, let’s take a minute to acknowledge how important and beneficial it is for your mental health. This extra day of holiday will not only give you relief from your constant companion stress but also give you a much-needed break from the monotony. Yes, a long weekend can indeed be good for your mental health.
Sometimes the constant chatter of emails, meetings, and deadlines can be overwhelming, which is when holidays like these serve as a sanctuary for your mental well-being. In short, the benefits of a long weekend off from work are not about relaxation, but rejuvenation. Let’s look at this upcoming holiday ahead of Independence Day 2023 as a chance for self-renewal, with clinical psychologist Mimansa Singh Tanwar.
Mental health benefits of a long weekend
Your usual routine can sometimes be utterly monotonous, making you feel demotivated. This is when holidays like this long weekend ahead of Independence Day help you break the routine. Dr Tanwar says this is the perfect time to go out and relax or spend some quality time with your family and friends. Don’t utilise this holiday to capitalise on work but try to approach it like a short vacation. Also, you don’t have to feel the pressure to go out somewhere. It’s perfectly okay to spend a long weekend at home doing nothing. The purpose is not to make something of it but to take a break from everything and give yourself a chance to rejuvenate.
Anything that you invest your time in outside of your work is good for your own mental well-being. It can have a positive impact on your overall mood. So, you feel fresh, rejuvenated when you engage in activities you like. Other things you disengage from your day-to-day work life and do something different on that long weekend or any other short break that you have. The purpose of a short break is that in that short time period, how can you disengage and try and invest your energies into other things which could be your hobbies, interest, going to a movie, planning, spending some time with family, catching up with friends or just simply sitting back and relaxing at home. It doesn’t always also have to be the pressure of going out and doing something, but sometimes even just being at home and doing simple things like relaxing or spending some time with yourself, which we don’t get otherwise is good. So, it can have a positive impact on our overall health, adds the expert.
How to utilise your long weekend?
Here’s how to make the most of the long weekend as suggested by the expert:
1. Break from monotony
When you’re following the same routine for a long time, it becomes important to break the monotony. Did you know that a weekend getaway could be more beneficial for your mental health than an extended vacation? It is a win-win because you get to take some time off without having to miss work like you would on an extended vacation.
2. Better sleep
Sleep is very important to maintain overall health. If you have missed on some sleep due to a set schedule, maybe you can utilise this time to get as much sleep as you want. Of course, don’t laze around but sleep a little more. In fact, a study published in National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute found that sleep deficiency can lead to some problems with decision-making, controlling your emotions, and coping with change.
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3. Spend more time with your loved ones
You could also utilise this time to spend more time with your loved ones. Spending more time with your family and friends can improve your mental well-being. Several studies have found that spending time with your family is good to combat loneliness and ward off mental health issues. You could get together and watch a movie, play some games, find something to do, and relax.
4. Be spontaneous
Don’t have plans for the long weekend? Don’t worry, be spontaneous enough to explore new things. Even if you couldn’t make plans for a long weekend, just see what you can do in three days’ time. Try and go out, enjoy, spend time, whatever you want to do. If you want to work on it, maybe plan your weekend according to something you wanted to catch up on.
The idea of a long weekend is to have a break from doing what you do on a day-to-day basis. It is a break from the mechanical work of getting ready in the morning, doing your usual thing at night, sleeping, and the just following the same rigmarole. A long weekend should be seen as a short vacation, whether it is in your mental sense or a short vacation that you plan. But it needs to be seen as a break from your day-to-day that will restore your mental well-being.