In recent years the attitude toward mental health has grown positively and is now seen as just as important as physical health.
When we prioritize mental health we are doing ourselves a serious benefit by keeping our emotional health at a good level so that life doesn’t get on top of us and cause more issues.
Whilst the stigma of mental health has mostly been pushed aside for people to feel freer in their expression of how they feel, there are still problems when it comes to taking a mental health day at times when they are needed.
Today, we will discuss why mental health days are essential for everyday life and how you can spend them to help you reduce stress and improve your mental wellness.
What Are Mental Health Days and How Can They be Used?
The fact that we know more about mental health now and we are becoming increasingly aware of what to look out for in ourselves and others, not everyone will take a mental health day to put their well-being first to support their overall health.
A mental health day won’t cure anxiety, depression, or other mental health symptoms that occur, but what it will do is help people manage those rough days when they are feeling anxious or feeling depressed.
If someone has a severe mental illness, then clearly it means that they need extra help to support them when they need it, but a mental health day could still be a good way to improve mood at specific times.
Personal Life and Professional Life
You may need to take a mental health day to help you cope with your work life so that your personal life doesn’t take a hit.
If you feel like work is getting on top of you and your to-do list is too long, or you are finding it hard to manage anxiety when you are at work, then you need to notice these signs before you head towards burnout.
It can be difficult to approach your boss about taking a mental health day, especially if you are unsure about how to do it, but the fact of the matter is, if you don’t take one, you will be causing yourself problems down the road.
Speaking to Your Boss
Ask for a sick day or even a half day if you just need to take some time out.
Whatever you decide, make sure you state your case to your boss effectively with all the points you need to make laid out for them so you can show them that you have thought about this and you want to make it work.
Express your feelings about how you need to take some time to prioritize your mental well-being and how you need to take a step back to keep yourself in a positive mindset that will help with your workload.
Don’t Stand For Toxicity
Hopefully, the company culture you are in lets you express your feelings and encourages you to focus on self-care when it is needed.
If it doesn’t, then it may be a good idea to search elsewhere as you should not be in a company that creates an unfair and toxic work environment that will add to your stress.
Why Are Mental Health Days Important?
It is obvious why taking a mental health day is an important thing to do.
Having mental health issues can be tiring to deal with day in and day out, so if you can find time to put your mental health first to help you manage the work you have or help you recover from a panic attack, then you should be taking care of yourself properly.
How Are Things Affected?
There is a knock-on effect with people who take mental health days as they are not only helping themselves personally but professionally too.
As mentioned before, work can become a problem if people are not taking care of their mental health.
Productivity levels can dip, work can become sloppy, and there is a lack of energy. This doesn’t help the company and it certainly does not help the individual suffering.
If you aren’t sure if taking a mental health day is right for you, you can always think about taking a few hours out of your day instead if you just need some time to breathe, but ideally, it would be good to take at least one mental health day, especially if you are feeling worse and worse with no outlet.
Talking to a Mental Health Professional
In some instances, seeing a therapist might be the best course of action when it comes to battling mental health problems.
They can teach coping skills and provide multiple benefits for your everyday life.
It is easy to feel overwhelmed when there is no outlet, this is where they come in to show you that taking time will support you and help you be more productive throughout your life, and stop you from getting stressed about anything and everything.
What Should You do on a Mental Health Day?
If you have never taken a mental health day before and you don’t know what to expect, then below are some ideas on how you can spend your mental health day off and how that can benefit you.
Acknowledge How You Feel
Now that you have the time to yourself and you are alone, it is a good time to think about why you are feeling this way and how it is affecting you in your life.
Your emotions are valid, no matter what anyone says to you, you need to know that what you are feeling is okay and that you shouldn’t be upset or afraid about expressing them.
Old Feelings Can Creep in
A lot of guilt and shame goes through people when they try and put their mental health first, even with people being more accepting, it can still be hard for people to shake themselves out of that ingrained mindset.
A mental health day is you showing yourself that you deserve to be treated right and that you are worth spending the time that you need to feel better about yourself.
Just as you would call in if you were physically sick, you should see your mental health as the same, how can you do a good job, or even just be yourself when you feel this bad? You can’t, so don’t push yourself.
Do Things That Make You Feel Good
Once you have come to the realization that you need to take a mental health day for yourself, you should go about your day/days doing things that make you feel like ‘yourself’ again, or at least help you ease those thoughts that are running through your mind.
Do you want to rest? Read? Go shopping? Indulge in a session of massage therapy in Lakewood, CO (or anywhere else) or some other form of self-care? Whatever you want to do, do it.
Make Sure They Are Healthy
Make sure that the outlets you are going for are healthy ones. There are people who will turn to drugs, gambling, etc., to fill that void.
They only offer a small relief at that moment and they can actually cause a lot more problems down the line which can be detrimental to your life. Focus on healthy activities that will provide you with the right kind of happiness.
Put Others Out of Your Mind
With that guilt and shame, you fall back into when you take a mental health day, you are probably also thinking about how others are going to think of you.
You don’t have to tell work colleagues about what you are taking the day off for, nor do you need to let your family or friends know if you aren’t comfortable yet with telling them.
The only people you need to discuss it with are your boss and supervisor (if required) so they understand where you are coming from and how important it is for you to do.
It is unfortunate that some people are more sympathetic to physical illness than mental illness, but it is true, so there is no shame in protecting yourself.
Some People Will Judge No Matter What
Even if you don’t say anything to anyone, there are people who will still judge you for taking any time off.
Remember, it is not about you as an individual, they may just be annoyed because of work, and you taking time off will just rattle them if they feel pushed already.
Whilst it is true that taking some time may affect your workload, this doesn’t mean you should put it off to appease others.
Work will always be busy and constant, your health will go down if you do not put yourself first.
It can go from mental health problems to physical health problems if you do not stop and put yourself first.
You are important. Don’t forget that.
How do you feel about mental health days now?
Hopefully, you see them as an essential part of your life and you know that taking them is not a burden or a problem, they are a necessity.
Putting yourself first is not selfish or wrong, and you need to keep that in your mind when you are second-guessing yourself.