Why it Might Be Time for a Mental Health Day
In most jobs you are given sick days (which usually require a doctor’s note) and a handful of vacation days that must be requested in advance. While most people will take time off if they need to recover their physical health, most people will just power through when their mental health is suffering. Perhaps, we should normalize the idea of a mental health day! Here are a few things to keep in mind:
1. Your mental health is just as important to overall wellness as physical health.
We often think that it is only our physical health that can impair our ability to complete a job well. In an age where the majority of jobs require more mental labor than physical labor this couldn’t be further from the truth. Stress and anxiety can impair your ability to concentrate, focus on a task, and make good decisions. Depending on the industry this could result in everything from low productivity to life altering mistakes (think: medical field). An employee taking time away and addressing mental health concerns is important for the individual sake as well as the good of the overall company.
2. There is a difference between boredom/lack of excitement about your job and stress/anxiety about your job.
We have all experienced times when we were not excited to get up and go to work in the morning. This a normal part of life and careers, however an overwhelming sense of anxiety and stress surrounding your job is not normal. It is in these times that it is helpful to take a step back, do some analysis, have conversations with supervisors, and decide a course forward that will improve mental health and prevent serious concerns.
3. Employees will likely be too afraid to ask for a day off due to mental health concerns.
No one is shy about asking off from work if they are running a high temperature or are unable to leave the bathroom. Asking off work because of stress and anxiety is another issue. Unless the conversation surrounding mental health is commonplace in the company, employees will likely feel ashamed to tell their supervisors that they need a day off for mental health reasons. This is where workplace mental health training is key to get the conversation started and let employees know that their supervisors are there to support their overall wellbeing and success.
4. How you spend a mental health day matters.
Contrary to what you might think sounds relaxing, binge watching Netflix alone while overeating unhealthy food will likely leave you feeling just as stressed and anxious as you think about starting the next day. Consider sleeping in, getting lunch with a friend who encourages you, taking a walk outside in nature or getting a massage. Engage in activities that will leave you feeling rested, less stressed, energized, and inspired.