You’ve had a tough week and, for that matter, a tough month. It would probably help if you could take some time off. So, should you? After all, how important is it to take a mental health day?
Why You SHOULD Take a Mental Health Day
There are several compelling reasons to take a mental health day. These may include:
- To Regroup
Sometimes you end up with an overwhelming personal to-do list. This may include appointments, errands and other tasks. And ultimately, this growing pile of obligations can distract you from your job. Taking a day off to clear your plate allows you to refocus on your work.
- To Catch Your Breath
It’s difficult to stay on top of your game all the time. To stay creative, you need to re-energize and clear your mind. Stepping back from your duties for a day gives you this fresh perspective.
- To De-Stress
When someone has the flu, usually they don’t hesitate to call in sick. Yet, when they are mentally exhausted, many people try to push through. However, elevated stress levels can cause headaches, muscle pain, fatigue and an upset stomach. Doesn’t that sound like the flu? Recognize it’s OK to treat your mental health the same way you would treat your physical health.
How to Make the Most of Your Day Off
Let’s say you wake up completely overwhelmed by work and by life. That’s it. You’re taking a mental health day. You call in and go back to bed until noon. Then, you watch TV, scroll through your social media and eat a whole bag of potato chips because have so much to do. Oh no! Suddenly you realize you’ve wasted your entire day. Now you feel guilty and you’re more behind than ever. In other words, your mental health day made your life worse. What can you do to avoid this scenario?
- Identify WHY You Need a Mental Health Day
Start by looking at the three reasons above. If you need to de-stress, a relaxing, do-nothing day is just what the doctor ordered. But if you’re taking the day off to catch up on errands, assign yourself a manageable to-do list, preferably the night before.
- Have a Plan
Setting a (flexible) agenda allows you to make the most of your day. For instance, booking a lunch with a friend may be more restorative than watching Netflix. Just be careful not to overschedule yourself. This will only add to your stress.
- Keep It Positive
Avoid activities that drag you down. Overeating, abusing drugs and alcohol and complaining will only make you feel worse. If you find yourself going down this road, you may be running away from problems a single mental health day can’t fix. Consider reevaluating your career choices or connecting with a counselor to uncover a better long-term solution.
Are You Looking for a Job That’s Better for Your Mental Health?
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