Is Taking a Mental Health Day Okay?
When you think about reasons to take a sick day, you probably imagine having a cold, a stomach bug or another physical health issue. The first thing that comes to mind regarding sick days is perhaps not taking a mental health day, but that doesn’t mean you should hesitate to take time off to nurture your mental health. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health.
Native emphasizes the importance of a balanced lifestyle through an integrated mental healthcare model and encourages our clients to take care of both their minds and bodies. Taking a mental health day might not be as commonplace as staying home with a runny nose and fever, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less critical.
Here is Native’s guide to taking a mental health day to help you prioritize your mental health just as much as your physical health.
What is a Mental Health Day?
A mental health day is a time to spend doing whatever your mind needs to feel rested and refreshed. Advice commonly given when you have a physical ailment is to listen to what your body is telling you, such as resting your eyes when they feel strained or taking a nap when you have a bad headache. Taking a mental health day allows you to listen to what your mind tells you and act accordingly.
Integrated mental healthcare acknowledges that each individual is different — and that there is no one mental health solution that works for everyone, and this applies to mental health days as well. There are no rules for how a mental health day should be spent, but consider participating in activities that could improve your particular mental health situation.
If you are feeling stressed or anxious, consider doing something that you find relaxing, such as taking a bath, doing a favorite hobby or spending time with a loved one. If you are feeling burnt out and completely exhausted, prioritize getting sleep, resting and taking time away from worrying about work or other sources of stress in your life.
When Should You Take a Mental Health Day?
Stress is a part of everyday life, but there are times when anxiety, worry, and burnout make it difficult for you to go about your day and be productive effectively. Actively taking care of both your mental and physical health is an integral part of following an integrated mental healthcare model, and one of the best ways to take care of your mind and body is to know when taking a mental health day would be helpful.
Here are some signs that taking a mental health day would be beneficial for you:
Difficulty sleeping — Mental health can influence sleep and vice versa, so if you’ve been having trouble sleeping, your mental health can suffer. Taking a mental health day to rest and catch up on sleep can improve your mind’s health and help you get into a consistent, healthy sleep routine.
Trouble focusing — Difficulty concentrating at work and on other aspects of everyday life can be related to anxiety, stress and other mental health conditions. If you’re struggling to go about your daily routine, having trouble making decisions, and your mind feels cloudy, taking a mental health day to give your mind a break can be beneficial.
Recurrent physical illnesses — Following an integrated mental healthcare model means understanding that the mind and body are connected and can influence each other. If you are dealing with recurring colds or other illnesses, it might be your body’s way of telling you that your mental health needs attention and that you should take a break.
Experiencing irritability — If you are feeling especially on edge and tense, it can be helpful to remove yourself from a stressful environment to give your mental health a reset. Taking a mental health day and spending it away from work and other sources of stress can improve feelings of being easily set off.
Feeling detached — Another vital sign to look out for is feeling disconnected from what is going on around you, whether it’s your work or your connections with others. It’s easy to become overwhelmed with the stress of daily life. If you feel detached, taking a mental health day can help you realign with your priorities and give your mind a chance to refresh.
How to Go About Taking a Mental Health Day
Now that you know what a mental health day is and some of the signs that taking a mental health day would be beneficial, you might be wondering how exactly to go about doing so. When it comes to taking a break from work to prioritize your mental health, you might be concerned about asking your employer for the day off. Here are some key tips for taking a mental health day:
Use a day off
Respect your own boundaries. If it causes you greater stress to tell your employer or HR department that you are requesting a day off of work for your mental health, then don’t feel pressure to say why you need the day off. You are under no obligation to explain your mental health concerns to your boss, especially if you feel like they won’t be respected. When taking a mental health day, the last thing you need is to feel stressed about the mental health day itself. Simply ask for time off or use a sick day and leave it at that.
Scheduling a mental health day ahead of time or even a few days off for a little mental health vacation from work can make the process of taking a mental health day easier. If you have vacation time or sick days saved up, you can request time off in advance to take care of your mental health. If you know you will be busy at work and want to take a break before or after to deal with the stress, or if you simply anticipate needing a break, planning ahead can be helpful. It’s not always possible to know when you’ll need a mental health day, but thinking forward can be useful when it is.
Make the Most of a Day Off
The practice of integrated mental healthcare encourages clients to improve their overall wellbeing by incorporating mental health strategies into everyday life. If you work full time and have a regular day off each week, consider dedicating part of it to mental health. By consistently practicing self-care and nurturing your mental health regularly, it might become easier to deal with work and everyday life stresses.
Remember to Prioritize Yourself
The most important part of a mental health day is remembering to prioritize yourself and your own health. While it can be easy to put off taking a mental health day due to demands at work or feeling like you don’t have enough time, try to remember that it’s okay to put yourself first sometimes.
Looking for Integrated Mental Healthcare in Pennsylvania?
Recognizing the importance of your mental health and knowing when taking a mental health day might be right for you can help you take better care of yourself. To lead a healthy lifestyle, it’s essential to make time for the health of both your mind and body.
Native’s integrated mental healthcare model recognizes that mental and physical health are both vitally important and can influence one another. Native works with clients to find individualized mental health solutions for each client and treat clients as active participants in their own mental health journeys. If you’re in Pennsylvania, Native would be happy to help you take charge of your mental health and learn strategies that you can use when taking a mental health day and in everyday life. Click here to see a full list of services that we provide.