Do you need a mental health day?

  • A mental health day can be an important part of self-care and a way to avoid burnout.
  • Chronic stress can make it difficult to do certain tasks and may cause memory problems.
  • A break in your work routine, even a staycation, can help you be more productive and reenergized when you return to work

Ever feel like you need a vacation, but traveling out of town just isn’t in the cards for you at the moment? Take a mental health day instead. Taking a day off from work for some important self-care can be highly beneficial for your soul and help you avoid burnout.

What is a mental health day?

A mental health day is taking a day off from your daily work or tasks to mentally reset and focus on relieving stress. A mental health day can be an important part of your self-care routine and a way to avoid burnout.

Is it time for a mental health day from work?

You may be showing signs that it's time for a mental health day if you:

  • can't concentrate or think clearly
  • are having trouble managing your emotions
  • are treating loved ones differently than you normally do
  • feel strong anxiety or overwhelming stress
  • can't seem to keep yourself physically healthy
  • feel depressed or isolated
  • are not getting as much pleasure from things you used to love
  • are isolating yourself
  • don't feel like yourself.

Call the Mental Health & Addiction Connection line, 866-603-0016, for any mental health or addiction service, question or concern, 24 hours a day, seven days a week or schedule an appointment with your health care provider.

How to ask your boss for a mental health day

One in four people will experience a mental health condition at some point during their life. Yet, it can still be difficult to talk openly about your mental health at work. But more and more employers are now accepting the natural ebb and flow of human emotions that may result in their employees needing to take a mental health day.

However, not everyone is there yet. So, it's important to use your own judgment. If you feel you will suffer more by sharing your situation, you may choose to say that you are taking a day for personal reasons or family reasons, which is commonly accepted as a reason for a day off from work.

Making the most of it through self-care

We each get to choose the best way to care for ourselves. It might include reading, exercising, striking a yoga pose, playing the piano, playing with a child, biking, or something else. The one piece of advice I have for everyone is to avoid screens. Give yourself a break to balance your "internal engine" and keep it attuned with your needs.  

If a one day break didn’t help for long and you’re still feeling depleted, you may need a longer break. Even if you can’t afford to travel, schedule a vacation regularly. A break in your work routine, even a staycation, is beneficial. The break can help you be more productive and reenergized when you return to work.

Benefits of taking the day off

Clear your mind.

Studies have found that chronic stress can make it difficult to do certain tasks and may cause memory problems. Taking time off can be like a “tune-up” for your brain, improving your mental health and ability to focus on tasks.

Reset your sleep schedule.

One third of adults in the US don’t get enough sleep. Yet, sleep is one of the most important ways you have to maintain health and wellness. So, while you may not be able to “catch up on” sleep, take time while on vacation or staycation to reset your sleep routine. Focus on establishing good sleep hygiene during time away from work. Then, once you’ve established a new normal, maintain these new habits once you return to work to avoid sleep deprivation.

Practicing mental wellness every day

Of course, most of us know the basics of healthy living, like eating healthy, exercising and cultivating healthy relationships. But, you also need short breaks each day to self-regulate and avoid burnout. Make sure that you practice self-care every day, doing the things that recharge you. This could be time alone, taking a walk or bike ride, or having a good conversation. When you forget to take time for yourself, it has negative effects on your health, and that's when you need time off.

How often should you take a sick day?

Save your sick days for when you really need them. If you are taking off too many days, your employer may ask for more specifics, or may start viewing you as unreliable. A sick day taken for physical or emotional health should be authentic. Honor and balance your own needs with the needs of your employer.



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