A mental health day can be as significant in some cases as taking a sick day. When you take a sick day, you give your body time to right your physical health so you can reset and go back to work (or jump back into the responsibilities of life) with a clean bill of health. So, if you would take a day off to ensure your physical health, wouldn’t you do the same for your emotional health?
When unmanaged, the day to day stresses of life can really take a toll on your emotional health. In some cases, it can lead to burnout or feelings akin to a nervous breakdown. So, if you ever feel like your day to day responsibilities are getting the best of you, put your health first, and take a mental break.
Why It Is A Good Idea To Take A Mental Health Day
Generalized anxiety is becoming more and more common among adults. In fact, around 20% of adults are actually affected by anxiety issues every year.1 Anxiety can produce constant worry and a perpetual feeling of being overwhelmed.
Generalized anxiety is characterized by persistent worry about everyday things like financial issues, family concerns, health-related concerns, and worries about the future.2
You may feel as though you need to take the time to simply unwind and reboot your system. And certainly, if you are feeling overwhelmed, it’s time to consider taking a mental break.3
When To Take A Mental Health Day From Work Or Daily Responsibilities
Burnout is real. And when you live in a constant state of stress, it can become easy to buckle. Sometimes the to-do list gets so long you don’t even know where to start. If you happen to feel exhausted all the time or are starting to resent your work, you could be on the brink of burning out.
While burnout is completely stressful, you must realize the circumstances that might cause it are generally temporary. Therefore, separating yourself from those circumstances for a day can be a great way to ease your mind. Asking for a mental health day means you value yourself enough to implement self-care and continue to do your work with integrity.
How To Take A Mental Break From Work: Schedule And Plan Ahead To Avoid Added Stress
If you can, schedule regular time off to ensure you can get the self-care you need. Just scheduling the day might brighten your mood by giving you something to look forward to.
If you can schedule and regulate your time off, you will have less of a chance of accumulating stress because you’ll be releasing it regularly. If you’re worried about asking for the time for a mental health day, take a look at your company’s employee handbook. It might suggest language you can use to ask for the time.
And if you think your stress is repetitive and you might need true medical assistance, your company may offer a hardship policy that allows for taking a good amount of time off. A visit to your doctor or psychiatrist could help you identify more serious issues, too. And if you can share a doctor’s note with HR, you might have better luck trying to secure regular (or emergency) breaks.
When You’re Granted Your Mental Health Break, What Should The Day Look Like?
Your mental health day can be whatever you want it to be. If you can, figure out what exactly it is that’s making you feel overwhelmed and then use the day to address the issue. Maybe you just need a day to relax. Or maybe you need a day to take care of some things you’ve been putting off like cleaning the house or visiting the dentist. Here are some ideas to make the most of your mental health day.
- If you’re simply exhausted, time to get a good night’s rest and sleep in
- Catch up on some housework or personal errands
- Listen to that new album or podcast you haven’t had time for
- Stay in bed reading your favorite magazines or watching old movies
- Take a day trip to your favorite beach or forest
- Attend a fitness class or go for a hike
- Treat yourself to a massage or haircut
- Take a family member or friend out for lunch
- Try some stress-relieving breathing exercises, yoga, or meditation
In some cases, you may not know why you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed. You can also use your mental health day to get to the root of the issue — make a list of your stresses and some ways you might address them. You can also try talking to a life coach or mental health professional.
Taking Care Of Yourself: A Mental Health Day Can Do The Trick
Your mental health should be as significant of a priority as your physical health. When asking for the time to reset your mind, be honest. Letting your boss know how the demands of your job affect you isn’t always a bad thing. Who knows? Maybe they’ll implement a legitimate mental health day policy because you addressed the need.