There is a growing focus on making sure people are taking care of their mental well being as much as their physical health. Part of this is taking some time to repair your mental health much like someone repairs their body when they have been hit with a virus. Using your sick days for not only ailments of the body, but on those days that your mental health may need a vacation is a practice many of us never use but should. Keep reading more to find out why a mental health day is just as important as a physical health day.
Mental Health Day
You may be asking yourself, what is a mental health day? In the simplest terms, a mental health day is calling off one day of responsibilities (i.e. work) when feeling emotionally exhausted or feeling burnout.
The overwhelming feeling of burnout is the best indicator for the need for a mental health day. Feeling overwhelmed, overworked, inability to concentrate, unable to sleep or eat on a normal pattern, or having trouble in relationships are all symptoms of burnout.
Unfortunately, mental health days may not be fully supported in all work environments, so it is essential to make sure your work policies allow you to use sick times for mental health days prior to disclosing your plans. Further, your mental health day shouldn’t cause stress to others so try to take a day off when you know your work responsibilities can wait until you return (however, if you are having a mental health emergency it is important to recognize this as a different situation). Talk to your superiors about mental health and the importance of self-care to open the conversation about the benefits of mental health days.
Justification for Mental Health Days
Still not convinced you should take a mental health day? There are some major benefits to consider the next time you may be feeling overwhelmed and in general burnout:
- Release stress and anxiety
- Telling your superior you are taking a mental health day instead of just a sick day allows you to spend your day doing some self-care instead of just staying at home (which you may feel obligated to do if you simply call in sick)
- Taking a day off can benefit your future work by leaving you more productive in the future
- Taking a day to yourself can allow you to catch up on the things you need to catch up on. Whether this is a to-do list or some much needed sleep – a day off allows you to get these things done.
- Mental health days are relaxing and make you feel refreshed – send the kids to school and leave your laptop closed. Enjoy your day off and come back to work better than ever!
Mental health days are as important for your overall well being as sick days, especially when you are experiencing extreme burnout. Taking a day off to catch up on life, provide some self-care, or simply reducing stress is a great way to improve your future productivity. Ensure mental health days are supported by your company prior to disclosing your plans, but also open the conversation regarding the importance of mental health if appropriate. Your sick time is to be used to take care of your well-being – including your mental health.