The Importance of a "Mental Health Day"
By Rachel Michelin
With the holiday season upon us, now more than ever, it is essential that we keep our wits about us. With 2 kids, a husband and a full-time career, I find the easiest way to stay sane is to spend quality time (however infrequently) with my best girlfriends.
And what better way to do so then to go “off the grid” a bit for dinner and a show in the city?
Last Saturday I spent the day in San Francisco with 13 other amazing women. We all trekked from El Dorado Hills to see the musical “Wicked” and enjoy a nice dinner. It was a great day filled with new friends, reconnecting with old ones, and reminding myself how important it is to take time for you.
Since there were 14 of us, we decided to rent a limo so we could enjoy each other’s company (not as expensive as you think – we each paid $65 including the tip check out Tom Fretwell with Fretty’s Disc Jockey & Limousine Service – they were a great company and I highly recommend them). So Saturday morning, we all piled into a stretch hummer limo and started our adventure.
In the car we listened and watched music videos (many of us have kids so much of the day is spent watching The Wiggles or Dora the Explorer so some of the videos were an eye-opener! Watching Lady Gaga and other new artists really gave us a laugh – didn’t know there is so much butt-shaking going on out there!!). Each of us brought food to share, and we had mimosas and champagne.
We talked about kids, life, and work. How little time there is in the day, how we never have enough time to work out, what the good preschools are in the community, school stuff, etc. We laughed at how old we are getting and just enjoyed the company of other busy women taking a “Mental Health Day.”
We arrived in San Francisco just in time to hit the restrooms and find our seats (some of us even had time to order our intermission drinks – “A Good Witch” or a “Bad Witch”). What can I say about the play – if you have not seen it DO! It was fabulous. The plot is incredible, the signing magnificent. The woman who plays the “bad witch” is so fabulous – when you hear her sing, alone, center stage with just one spotlight on her you will get goose bumps. What was also a hit was trying to correlate the plot of Wicked with that of the Wizard of Oz – it gives you a whole new perspective on that story line!! This was one of those shows that left you wanted to see it again, even if it means trekking back to San Francisco – it is definitely worth it!!
After we finished the play we headed to dinner at a great restaurant called The Grand Café. The food was wonderful and the company even better. We shared bottles of wine and cheese plates, wonderful entrées, and each gave our take on the plot. What was nice was for a few short minutes you forgot all the responsibilities of home and just enjoyed being a woman enjoying discussion with other very intelligent women. After a lovely dinner, it was time to load back in the limo and head home.
When we got back to our meeting spot there happened to be another limo dropping its passengers off for a “potty” break. This limo was filled with high school kids out for a big dance. We got a huge chuckle as we realized how much more fun this limo ride was with a group of “mommies” and how your perspective changes as you get older.
What I enjoyed most was taking a day for myself and sharing it with these wonderful women. We talked about politics and day care, dealing with in-laws and husbands (and ex’s too). We talked about the economy and how to navigate the real estate market and even why it is important to have you daughters in Girl Scouts, but the point was we talked! No kids hanging onto us or crying because we weren’t paying enough attention to them. No one saying “Honey can you…..” or football glaring in the background.
This was the first time many of us had the opportunity to do this, and we realized that all too often we (as moms AND women) put ourselves last to our families, friends, work and community commitments. I L-O-V-E my family, but remember the saying – “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!”
My husband is a wonderful partner and father, but I do find that he does a much better job at taking “mental health days.” He’ll meet the guys for lunch on Fridays or make golf plans… Even when he doesn’t have plans – or during naptime – he still manages to find time to grab a beer at his favorite diner to watch whatever game is on. I, on the other hand, tend to try and play the “martyr.” I’ll do laundry, vacuum or pick up the kitchen instead of taking the time to take care of me.
I need to take a page from my husband’s book – I think we all do – and remember the importance of taking care of ourselves. Maybe we all can’t always rent a limo and be whisked away for the day, but we can make sure to meet a girlfriend for a glass of wine or lunch at a local restaurant or Saturday morning pedicures. Whatever it is, we all need “Mental Health Days” so that we can go back to our loved ones and responsibilities recharged – and ready to be the wonderful women we are.
So whether you have children, a husband, a crazy job or whatever, we need to let loose more. Enjoy a glass of wine (or three) and celebrate all the great things we do on a daily basis. I would highly recommend taking the time to go see Wicked – you will love it (it’s playing until December 27th)! If you can rent a limo, great, if not take Amtrak and have the same experience (they even sell wine and beer on the train!). But take time for yourself and enjoy a “Mental Health Day” – I know you won’t regret it!