Emotional Wellness Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

National holidays give you a great excuse for some fun self care.

Do you know what today is?  January 21st is National Hugging Day!  It’s a day to show the people you love how much you care by wrapping your arms around them and giving them a good squeeze (consensually, of course).  And, do you know what?  Hugging releases oxytocin, a hormone that makes us both feel good and can help reduce pain.  It can lower stress, blood pressure, and even the risk of heart disease.  Hugging can even ease feelings of anxiety.  

How about tomorrow?  Well, January 22nd is National Library Shelfie Day, the day when book lovers everywhere take pictures of their book collections, artfully or cleverly arranged on a shelf, and then share them on social media.  It’s a great day to celebrate your favorite books or your love of reading.  Or, it’s a day to remember how much you love snuggling up under a blanket with a great book.

What does this have to do with Emotional Wellness, or health promotion?  Well, we know that there are things that we can all do right now to take care of our mental health, including taking care of our body, volunteering to help others, learning how to deal with stress, and quieting our mind. 

And, as it turns out, there’s a day for that!  I found this website, which lists every single national day in America, and I was astounded to learn how many there were that, if observed, actually allowed people to take a moment to take good care of themselves for that one day.

So, constant reader, I have compiled a list of a few of them that you might just decide to take advantage of for the rest of January.  I’ll leave it to you all to take it from there!

  • January is National Hobby Month!  Hobbies are great for taking our mind off of the pressures of work and other daily hassles to sit down with something what we really love to do.  
  • January is also National Mentoring Month.  Started by the Harvard School of Public Health and The National Mentoring Partnership in 2002, National Mentoring Month allows us to celebrate mentoring and the positive effect it can have on young lives.  For more information, visit www.nationalmentoringmonth.com.
  • Third Week of January: National Hunt for Happiness Week.  While we can’t be happy all of the time, during this week, consider what brings you happiness.  Who are the people that bring you happiness?  What have you loved doing in the past, something that maybe you haven’t done in years?  
  • January 24: National Compliment Day.  A great way to take care of yourself is to take care of the people in your life.  So, today, brighten someone’s day and tell them how much they mean to you.
  • January 26: National Spouses Day.  Meant to be a day of appreciation without gift-giving, National Spouses Day allows people who are married or significantly coupled to express heartfelt appreciation for those life partners we love.
  • January 28: Plan for Vacation Day.  I am so looking forward to this one!  Get started on planning your next break from work now!  
  • January 29: National Puzzle Day.  Puzzles are great for our brains, allowing us to use both sides of our brain to solve them.  And the finished product is always so satisfying.  Pull out an old jigsaw puzzle and spread it out on your dining room table!  Or, maybe get out that old Sudoku book you haven’t used in a while.  Exercise your brain with a puzzle today!
  • January 31: National Inspire Your Heart with Art Day.  Art and creativity are known to have immediate and long-term benefits to our mental and physical health.  Listen to music that inspires you.  Take a walk to the Broad or to Kresge and take in the current visual art installations.  Go to a dance performance and take in the beautiful grace of the movement. 

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