When Should You Take a Mental Health Day?
Mental health is as important as physical health. Yet, do you care for your mind, the way you care for your body?
Healthcare workers don’t think twice about taking a day off if they are sick. But how many feel comfortable using sick time for feeling mentally drained?
When should you take a mental health day? A mental health day focuses on nurturing the mind, away from worries of work or school. You should take a mental health day when you need time for self-care because you feel stressed, anxious, or worn out. Mental health days can also be preventive. It is better to be proactive than reactive.
Whether you take time regularly for mental health or you have never taken a self-care day, here is what you need to know about this important practice.
When To Take a Mental Health Day
The most important time to take a mental health day is when you are overwhelmed by life stress.
Signs that it is time to focus on mental wellness can be obvious or subtle. Changes in sleeping or eating habits, constant feelings of worry, or mood swings signal that the mind needs a little TLC.
Here are a few questions to ask.
- Are my relationships strained?
- Have I experienced life changes recently?
- Do I lose my temper at home or work?
- Am I getting enough sleep?
- Am I feeling pessimistic lately?
- Do I have trouble focusing at work or home?
Consider how you feel most days. And think about the situations or life changes that could affect you.
Also, don’t forget about eustress. Eustress is good stress.
Positive life events like new relationships, job opportunities, or big purchases are good things. But they are also stressors. Don’t overlook these factors when considering your stress level and response.
Benefits of Mental Health Maintenance
Taking a mental health day when you feel fine can be a good thing, too.
Regularly plan time to unwind, relax, or recharge. Routine self-care may prevent problems like depression or anxiety.
A day off from normal routines, with a focus on wellness, leads to benefits such as:
- Lower stress
- Reduce fatigue
- Prevent burnout
- More energy
And nurses should not feel guilty for taking time away from work because mental healthcare has advantages for your employer too.
Benefits of mentally fit workers include:
- Better company culture
- Improved customer satisfaction
- Fewer physical sick days
Many organizations support employee wellness and offer programs for these reasons.
How Often Should You Take a Mental Health Day
Each case is different. But on average, Talkspace therapist Dr. Amy Cirbus advocates one to two mental health days every three months.
Some ages and stages in life may require more self-care. Listen to your intuition.
Being mindful of feelings and stressors in life is a good way to gauge when a mental health day is needed.
What To Do On a Mental Health Day
A mental health day is meant to nurture the mind and promote wellness. Therefore any activity that feels good mentally or helps an individual unplug or recharge can be a good option.
Self-care looks different for each individual.
Here are a few ideas.
- Read a good book
- Take naps
- Spend time with a close friend or friends
- Ride a bike or hike in nature
- Watch a sunrise or sunset
- Yoga or meditation
- Get some sunshine
- Enjoy water activities or a beach
- Turn off social media
- Have an aromatherapy massage
- Cook a healthy or delicious meal
- Create something like a story, craft, or painting
Any activity or action that nourishes your mind, senses, and mood is probably a good way to start your mental health day.
Now you have some ideas on how and why mental health days are important. They are invaluable to maintaining and promoting wellbeing. Consider planning a date with yourself on the calendar now.
We hope you found this article helpful. Be sure to share these ideas with a colleague that could use them, and share your tips for self-care in the comments below!
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