In a world where even mental well-being can be pressurised, a “cheat day” can help us recharge. In the famous words of the Kit Kat marketing team: “Take a break”.

Taking a breather is not the same as giving up. It’s okay to have a good day or a bad day and not think too deeply about it. Art by Zuzanna Milancej.

Sex sells. Fitness sells. Health sells. I’m confronted by this every time I log on to social media to a slew of gym selfies or I walk into a drug store to be met with a wall of supplements. But, perhaps more insidiously, I’ve noticed a new wave of health marketing creeping in whilst we’ve been busy bashing influencers on social media for face-tuning their bodies to within an inch of reality: mental health marketing. Whilst generally a positive movement (mental health needs more awareness and acceptance), this constant onus on happiness, and self-love is a new kind of pressure facing us all.

With the constant cacophony of self-care and self-acceptance mantras, there is little room for self-doubt or low self-esteem that all of us have. It can feel like a failure to have bad days when we do all the “right things” for our mental well-being. Not only that, to feel like a failure for having a bad day makes us feel even worse in a world pressurising us to accept and love ourselves all the bloody time. Frankly, it’s exhausting.

I’m going to give myself a break. Much like eating a whole packet of chocolate digestives isn’t good for my waistline, hiding in my house all day isn’t good for my mental state. I’m not going to stop striving to feel better – I don’t stop trying to eat healthily because I ate a packet of biscuits  – but I’m also human. So if today I only leave the sofa to go to the loo, I’m going to let it go, give myself a day off from the constant obligation of positivity and realise that whether or not I have a good day is not the be-all and end-all. If in an hour I go out to enjoy the weather, I’m not going to dissect it too deeply – my self-analysis or self-congratulations can wait until tomorrow.

A day off from the pressure and expectations is needed once in a while. And who knows? Maybe my mental health will benefit. My energy levels surely will.

Leave a Reply