contributed article

Something you may or may not have heard of in recent months is a “mental health day”. We’ve all heard of sick days. Heck, we’ve all had them ourselves! You just can’t be expected to go into work and spread germs when you’re throwing up every 10 minutes. However, many people question mental health days because, well, you can’t physically see mental health. It doesn’t show physical signs like when you have the stomach flu.

Even if you’ve never experienced a full on mental health issue, we all need to take care of it carefully. Don’t worry about people calling you weak or not taking you seriously – that’s their issue. They’ll be the ones in trouble  when they start experiencing problems associated with poor mental health.

How Do You Know When You Need A Mental Health Day?

So, the first question is how do you know when you need a mental health day. This can vary from person to person. For instance, some people begin struggling with feeling overwhelmed, and they are forgetful and struggle to concentrate. If this sounds like you, taking a mental health day or two could be a great way to recuperate. If this sort of mindset would actually be dangerous for your job – for example, somebody who drives vehicles all day, then you may need to take more days. Here are a few more pointers you can use to figure out the right time:

  • You’ve been neglecting your self care needs – maybe you need alone time to recharge your batteries, and you’ve been slacking on basic self care.
  • You’re distracted by an issue you have at home – maybe you’re going through a tough divorce or you’re behind on your bills. If you don’t feel in control, you need to take time off to reduce your anxiety.
  • You need to go to appointments to take care of your mental health – maybe you need to see your therapist or have some medication adjusted. These appointments need to be prioritized.

How To Take A Mental Health Day

Luckily, many bosses and institutions are starting to realize the importance of their employees’ mental health. They know that mental health is something that needs to be worked on by all, whether considered mentally healthy or mentally ill

If you have long term mental issues, it’s a good idea to speak to your boss face to face. Your boss should be understanding. You don’t need to tell them absolutely everything, but hopefully they’ll allow some lenience that will make your life easier, such as leaving early once a week for therapy or having the occasional day off. You can raise the issue with HR if your boss isn’t making you feel supported.

Once you’ve taken a mental health day, spend time reducing your anxiety. Meditate in a fluffy robe from after a long bath and plan on doing the bare minimum. Maybe you’ll catch up on your reading or go for a long walk.

Don’t stress out and start thinking that you should be at work or that you should be making the most of the day and being as productive as possible. You can spend mental health days that way, but only if you feel up to it.

It’s high time people started looking at mental health the same way as physical health. Never, ever feel bad about prioritizing your mental health!