The Importance of Taking a Mental Health Day
A mental health day is a day off that is specifically intended to relieve stress and prevent burnout. Mental health days are beneficial to everyone, regardless of whether or not they have a mental illness. We all hit our max and can become overwhelmed with stress. By taking the day off to relax and hit pause we allow ourselves to replenish our depleted energy and reserves.
Mental health days can be just as important as sick days and taking holidays. Forbes states that companies actually benefit when their employees take time to care for themselves and their mental health. It is much less costly for companies to have employees take a few days off each year to recharge rather than having the stress build up into more serious problems down the track.
When to Take a Mental Health Day
If you find yourself feeling burnt out and overwhelmed it may be a sign that you would benefit from taking a mental health day.
Another time a mental health day may be necessary is when something is going on in your personal life and it's taking its toll on your focus and productivity, such as a conflict or breakdown of a relationship. You may find yourself focused on your personal problem rather than your work, a definite clue that it may be better to take a mental health day.
Taking the Time Off
One of the hardest parts about taking a mental health day can be asking for the time off. It’s ideal if you can schedule the day off ahead of time. This helps minimise any stress associated with taking the day off by allowing you to redistribute your workload or find a replacement. However, more often than not, the stress creeps up on us and you may find yourself waking up unable to face the stress of the day.
If you really cannot take the time off work, for example when you have a major deadline approaching or are new at a job, then you can focus on making the most of your time outside of work. Try to get more sleep, get moving with whatever type of exercise feels good, spend time out in nature and do activities you find relaxing. Better yet, plan a mental health day on a weekend.
For many of us, planning a mental health day may involve more responsibilities than work. If you are a parent then you may want to arrange to have the kids spend some time with grandparents or other family members so you can truly make the most of your day.
How to Spend a Mental Health Day
The best way to spend a day to yourself varies from person to person but there are some ways that are more popular than others.
Resting- By the time we take a mental health day we are often exhausted, whether it be mentally or physically. You may just want to spend the day in your pyjamas watching netflix.
Having Fun- If you have been overworking yourself you may just need to have some fun. Make the most of your day by trying something new or arranging to get together with some friends.
Spending Time Outdoors- Going for a walk outdoors is a great way to replenish your mind and body.
Treating Yourself- A visit to a spa or booking a massage can be a wonderful way to spend a mental health day.
Do Nothing- Sometimes we have been spreading ourselves so thin that we need a day to reverse it by doing nothing at all and having no expectations of ourselves.
While taking a mental health day won’t solve all of your problems it may help reset your mind. After replenishing your reserves you will return with greater confidence to tackle your work and busy life. After taking a mental health day it can be helpful to reflect on the circumstances that led up to it and how you might deal with those stressors throughout each week to ensure they don’t build up.
If you find yourself wanting to take a mental health day regularly, then it may be a sign that you need more help. We’re always here to help so please book an appointment today if you’re feeling this way. There are many strategies available to support you.