In today’s world, we are so exhausted and worn out with all of the things society tells us should be monopolizing our time. Rarely do we as a society stop and take a moment to recollect ourselves mentally, yet taking these pauses is absolutely crucial to maintaining positive mental health. Despite knowing our need for a mental health day, many of us feel unable to take a day off to unwind and recharge our batteries.
Is It Okay to Take a Mental Health Day?
Job stress is something that most of us are familiar with. With any job, you will find that you feel stressed from time to time due to the pressures of completing certain tasks. While moderate amounts of stress here and there can actually be beneficial to help create a motivated work attitude, there is the possibility of becoming overly stressed.
High amounts of stress occurring in your daily life may also be what’s referred to as burnout. Burnout can be defined as unusually prolonged or excessive amounts of stress in reaction to your job or your overall lifestyle. If you are feeling perpetually exhausted, beginning to resent your job, or feeling unable to work efficiently, you may be experiencing burnout. We at FHE Health want to help.
While burnout itself isn’t recognized as a mental illness, it can go hand in hand with real diagnosable conditions. It can worsen an already existing mental illness, or even be a contributing factor that causes one. Burnout is commonly seen in people who have anxiety disorders, depression, and other mood disorders.
It is important to note that burnout itself is usually temporary in duration and less severe than a real disorder. It is usually caused by environmental and situational factors, rather than an actual chemical imbalance which is biological in nature. Nevertheless, it still goes without saying that burnout can take a tremendous toll on mental health. Whether you have a true mental illness or not, everyone should be able to take a mental health day.
Why Take a Mental Health Day?
First, it should be acknowledged that the respite of the daily grind that we are addressing here is different than a true mental health emergency. While it is very important not to become overwhelmed, and that is a factor that could exacerbate mental health disorders, the term ‘mental health day’ is not meant to address diagnosable mental crises, such as an anxiety attack or bipolar disorder. The term ‘mental health day’ is not used to lessen the seriousness of those situations, but an acknowledgment that we all need to take care of our mental well-being, and it can be improved with a day off.
Taking a sick day is a common and acceptable way to take a day off work, taking a ‘mental health day’ is a far less recognizable thing to do. The truth is, many people do not take mental health seriously enough. Mental health is just as important as physical health and more workplaces should allow employees to take mental health days.
Ideally, it would work best if you are able to schedule a day off in advance and ensure that either your workload is already taken care of or that you have found a replacement for yourself. It would also be ideal if you could use the weekend to focus on your mental health. However, situations are not always ideal and the fact is that mental health sometimes demands an unexpected day off work. Some days, you wake up and just feel mentally exhausted and unable to take on the day. You need to allow yourself to recognize that your body and mind need one thing and one thing only: rest.
What Does a Mental Health Day Look Like?
While taking one day off may not solve the deep underlying problems that lead to burnout, it is still a valuable action you can take for yourself. So what does a mental health day look like?
As stated before, it may simply look like just resting. Sleep in, watch your favorite television series, read a book, sleep some more, or simply do nothing. As long as this isn’t an everyday thing, it is perfectly okay to treat yourself to some much-needed relaxation.
But maybe rest isn’t the only thing you need; maybe you’ve been craving a fun day of activities that deeply interest you. Whatever your hobby might be, go and do it. Go to that painting class, go bird watching, get a haircut, spend some time playing an instrument, or make some jewelry. Whatever it is that excites you and takes your mind off the stress of work, do it.
Maybe you need to spend the day reflecting on why you had to take it in the first place. Sometimes the stress keeps piling up, and you don’t even have a second to take a step back and see what’s causing it. Use your mental health day to identify the patterns or habits that may be leading to burnout. While you may not be able to completely eliminate the stressors in your life, it can be extremely beneficial to make a list of them and start making the effort to reduce them. You may realize that you’re taking on more responsibilities at work than necessary and that you have trouble saying no when people ask you to do things. It’s small things like this that you can begin to change which can create better mental health.
Taking Care of Your Mental Health Daily
Another thing to consider is that it is possible to better your mental health every day, and not just during a mental health day. There is such thing as relaxation strategies which you can actually incorporate into your daily routine, even while at work.
Starting from the moment you wake up, making the decision to actively combat stressful situations with relaxation strategies. This includes but is not limited to breathing exercises, meditation, music, and exercise.
Breathing exercises are easy to master and can be used at any time to reduce feelings of stress or anxiety. Meditation is something that doesn’t work for everybody but can produce a deep feeling of relaxation for many people. It can be done in the morning before work, during breaks at work, before bedtime, or whenever fits best for you. Music can be a great tool to help you feel relaxed as it is proven to improve your mood very quickly. Finally, exercise is not always easy to do, but you will find that it releases endorphins and causes you to feel much more relaxed afterward.
When it comes down to it, your mental health is extremely valuable and should always be prioritized. Be open and honest with your boss at work, and tell them you could really use a mental health day. In the end, it will only benefit the workplace because you’ll come back feeling more refueled and renewed. Here at FHE Health, we believe your mental health is so important. So important, that we have an entire team of highly qualified professionals dedicated to helping you with yours.
If a mental health day is not enough to help with your stress, or you think you may be struggling with a real mental illness, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Contact us today by calling us at (844) 299-0618. Our compassionate team of counselors is standing by to take your call 24/7. Start your journey to recovery today.