- Posted by Jon Harju
- On July 24, 2019
Most of us occasionally need to take a day (or more) off work to recover from a migraine or a bout of stomach flu. But why do so few of us take a sick day when we’re not mentally well?
Sometimes taking a mental health day in the name of self-care and stress relief is the best thing you can do for yourself. It can provide a much-needed break to pause and regroup, helping you return to work with a fresh perspective and a chance to address any mental health concerns before they escalate.
So why do we hesitate at the chance of self-care? Statistics show that 1 in 5 of people in Canada will experience mental health problems, so rest assured you’re not alone if you struggle to balance life and work at times.
The most obvious sign that you need to take a day off for your mental health is when you feel like you can’t perform to your usual capabilities. And, if you’re wondering if you should feel guilty for taking a mental health day, the answer is a loud ‘no.’
Top 3 reasons it’s time for a mental health day to recharge
1. Need help returning to health
Sometimes, daily tasks can seem daunting to the point where we feel tearful, anxious, or frustrated. If this is happening regularly, then you could be suffering from too much stress. If you ignore it, the damage can be much harder to deal with. Take a day off to get things in order or to seek help from a health professional.
2. It’s time to make healthy changes in your life
If the stress seems to build up and you’re looking for a way to slow down and stop the “noise,” aim to take a day to reset things. Perhaps you could create a list of current priorities and organize your tasks (both professional and personal) into manageable chunks that are achievable. This can help you identify time and space for valuable self-care moments.
You may not be able to eliminate all of your daily stressors, but a few healthy changes go towards improving your stress levels.
3. Not enough sleep is catching up with you
Lack of sleep causes stress on the body with chronic sleep disruptions leading to negative thinking, depression and anxiety. If you know you’re struggling from lack of sleep, then you shouldn’t feel badly about taking a day off to catch up on some much-needed rest. It’s generally believed that a good night’s sleep helps foster both mental and emotional resilience.
A mental health day is different than a vacation day
It’s important to acknowledge that your paid vacation leave is there for you to spend time with loved ones, go travelling, or enjoy your favorite hobbies. Don’t fall into the trap of using your paid leave for when you’re too sick to work. Sick days are an essential tool for healing, and a key part of self-care that can benefit your overall work performance in the long run.
If you’re concerned that your overall stress levels are becoming more significant and go beyond taking a mental health day, reach out for support from a mental health professional. After all, mental health is the foundation of our wellbeing and you deserve to enjoy brighter, happier days.
Download Snapclarity to get the help you need, when you need it.