When you’re under the weather with a fever or severe cold, you know you need to take a sick day. The same goes for days when you’re struggling mentally. Unfortunately, many people don’t realize when they need to take a mental health day to recover from the stress or burnout they may be experiencing. Our mental well-being is just as vital as our physical well-being. On that note, here are some signs you need a mental health day.
Benefits of Taking a Mental Health Day
Although it’s normal to have some bad days every once in a while, if you find yourself in a string of bad days or stuck in a stress rut, then it’s time for a change. Taking a mental health day can have a variety of benefits, including:
- Improved morale and attitude
- Improved concentration and mood at work
- Improved physical health
- Improved relationships with coworkers and loved ones
- Improved resiliency
- Increased productivity
- Prevention of a mental health crisis
- Reduced feelings of burnout
- Reduced isolation and loneliness
Sometimes a mental health day doesn’t necessarily mean taking a day off work. Especially if you have kids, you might need to take a day you normally have off to yourself. A “mental health day” can even mean taking a few hours to relax after a hard day at work. Additionally, incorporating consistent and daily methods for managing your mental health can prevent you from hitting the point of burnout.
When to Take a Mental Health Day
Sometimes, it’s obvious when you need a mental health day, such as the period after a tough breakup or if you’re upset about a poor review at work. Other times, however, it can be more difficult to recognize the mental health struggles you may be experiencing.
If you’re in denial about the stress or burnout you’re experiencing, here are some signs you need a mental break that may convince you to take a day or two off.
- Things that normally aren’t overwhelming are causing you stress
- You don’t feel like yourself anymore, even when you’re done working
- You feel anxious about or dread going to work
- You get angry easily
- You keep getting sick
- You think about quitting or switching jobs often
- You’re getting chronic headaches that are related to stress
- You’re having trouble sleeping
- You’re worrying about your job and work responsibilities outside of work hours
- You’ve become less productive even though you’re working the same number of hours
- You’ve lost interest in other activities you used to enjoy
- You’ve lost motivation and the ability to focus at work
- You’ve withdrawn from loved ones due to stress
Mental Health Day Ideas
While there’s probably no wrong way to have a mental health day, it’s more than just getting a coffee or taking a nap. It’s important to be intentional about the activities you do during this day so you can actually improve your mental health and not just waste the day away. We recommend that you find activities to do that contribute to the five senses: sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing.
Here are a few mental health day activities you can plan for:
- Unplug from social media: It can be tempting to relax by scrolling through endless Instagram feeds and YouTube videos. Even so, unplugging from social media can help you do things you may have been neglecting that could help you feel better, such as spending time with loved ones.
- Clean: Unless this is a stressor, cleaning can actually be a major stress reliever. Living in a messy space can contribute to stress and anxiety, so decluttering or having a Spring cleaning session (no matter what season you’re in) can help ease some of that tension and help you reset mentally.
- Get physical: Moving around and getting some exercise releases endorphins, alleviates physical tension, and, at the end of the day, can help you get some much-needed sleep.
- Spend time outdoors: Staying inside all day with no sunshine can contribute to gloominess and negative feelings. This is why we encourage you to go enjoy the outdoors and sunshine.
How to Ask for a Mental Health Day
Taking a mental health day is easier said than done. It’s normal to have concerns about what your employer might say. Will they give you a hard time, or will they understand? If you have some time off available, use that for your mental health day.
If you don’t have paid time off available, speak to your employer about needing at least one day off to reset. Explain your situation and how you’ve been feeling. Keep in mind that if you’ve had to take a lot of time off recently that they’ll likely be resistant, so consider your recent work schedule. They may also be more likely to say no if they have any major pending tasks. Try to get as much done as you can beforehand to get that day off and be able to enjoy it with no outstanding responsibilities.
You can also speak to coworkers about covering for you. Your boss might ask who or how your portion of work for that day would get done, and having an answer can make it more likely that they’ll approve the request.
Help for Mental Health
Sometimes one mental health day isn’t enough. If you find yourself needing many of these, then you might have a more serious problem. If you or someone you care about is battling a mental illness, our Banyan Lake Worth rehab offers mental health programs for various kinds of mental health disorders.
These programs utilize evidence-based therapy methods like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and biofeedback to support clients’ recovery. For more information about our mental health or addiction treatment in Lake Worth, call Behavioral Health of the Palm Beaches today at 561-220-3981 or send us your contact information to connect with an admission specialist.