This phrase was in the example dialog from yesterday's blog. Why not quickly scroll down right now and read yesterday's like this example. Getting or taking your mind off things means doing something that will make you forget problems or difficult situations in your life. So, you may go on vacation to get your mind off things, or listen to music or go to the movies or any activity that will temporarily erase any negative thoughts in your head at the moment.
We often use the word things to refer to any problem that we may be having, but you can substitute things for a more specific word or phrase. For example, you can get your mind off the bad economy, or get your mind off the fight with your friend, or get your mind off your co-worker's incompetence, which makes you angry. You get the picture.
When you use the activity as the subject of the sentence, we usually use the verb take in this expression. For example, cooking takes my mind off things or playing the piano takes her mind off things.
Husband: I need to go for a walk. I'll be right back.
Wife: Right now? Dinner's almost ready.
Husband: Yeah. I need to get my mind off work.
Wife: Did something bad happen?
Husband: Yeah. I had to lay off a couple of people. They were really good workers, too. I learned that I had to do it when I walked in this morning.
Wife: Oh, I'm sorry. That's horrible.
Husband: I felt bad all day.
Wife: Where are you going?
Husband: I'll probably walk to the pier and watch people fishing. That usually takes my mind off things.
Wife: Alright. See you later.
lay off someone - make someone leave the job usually because the company can't afford to hire him or her anymore
Alright, think about what takes your mind off things. When you're having a bad day or you had a fight with someone or you failed an exam, what do you do to feel better or temporarily forget the bad situation? Does dancing or going for a run or a good movie take your mind off things? Think about it and ask a friend, "What takes your mind off things?"