Do you find yourself sometimes overwhelmed by the drudgery of work or school? Can you sometimes just feel your stress levels rising, leaving you short with coworkers, clients, fellow students and maybe even your friends and family when you get home?
It’s not unusual to feel spent after a long day of work or school, nor is it unusual to feel downright depressed about facing another busy (or maybe boring) day. Everyone feels burnout from time to time. What’s important, and perhaps not as well practiced or offered, is taking the time to destress and step away from all that anxiety and stress and take what’s commonly called a “mental health day.”
What is a Mental Health Day?
A mental health day is a day to “reboot.” To step back and regain the energy you may need to face school or work with a renewed vigor. It’s a day to de-stress, take a break from work or homework, and take advantage of a little self-love.
Mental health days are days you can take away from school or your career to focus on your mental and emotional health, as well as your physical health.
Why Are Mental Health Days Important to Take?
Mental health days are important for everyone, regardless of whether you struggle with a mental illness. Stress buildup from our everyday lives can lead to taxing emotional and physical symptoms. Anxiety, stress, anger, depression, poor sleep, illnesses and other physical ailments can be a result of burnout.
Taking the time to have a mental health day saves us (and our peers) from breaking down. They can even lead to better performance at school and work in the future.
How Do I Take a Mental Health Day?
Some companies are starting to provide extra sick or vacation time, as well as mental health resources for employees needing a break. However, many companies (and schools) have yet to provide this benefit, and it’s up to you to use your sick time or vacation days to give yourself a much needed reprieve.
When Should I Take a Mental Health Day?
Consider designating and scheduling out specific days off for yourself (think vacation days.) That, or if a particular day is especially stressful or overwhelming, take that day off (a sick day.) You’re not helping yourself, your education, your clients, or your career if you’re riddled with stress and anxiety.
What Should I Do on a Mental Health Day?
Anything you want! Spend time with family or friends, get some exercise or some much-needed sleep, or pick a fun activity you’ve been meaning to do and do it! Whatever you do, as long as it helps you relax, it’s time well spent.
The positive effects of a mental health day away from responsibilities far outweigh any school or work days missed. It’s understandable that you may feel stressed or maybe even selfish about taking a day off, but as a mental health professional, let me reassure you that your brain, body, and spirit will thank you and repay you tenfold in the future.
As a final note, remember, an employer cannot ask why you are out sick if you choose to take a sick day as a mental health day (do keep in mind that they can ask for a doctor’s note.) It’s important to protect yourself and your mental health if push comes to shove.
If you struggle with allowing yourself time off for your own well being, or find yourself grappling with overwhelming anxiety or burnout, reach out! There is a way to maintain your sanity, career and education!