Stress is a silent and insidious killer. It sneaks into your life and takes residence in your mind and body. You may try to convince yourself that feeling overwhelmed and chronically stressed out is normal — but it shouldn’t be. In fact, without healthy coping techniques, stress can devastate your physical, emotional and mental health. You are not a robot. If you’ve got some unused vacation or sick days, it may be time to take a mental health day.
Knowing when to take a mental health day for yourself takes a little bit of self-awareness. If stress is starting to bog you down, then it’s time for a break. Here are a few things you should know about taking a mental health day.
What Is a Mental Health Day?
A mental health day from work is simply a day off where you focus on stress relief and burnout prevention. If you find yourself feeling irritable, stressed out or overwhelmed, whether at work or home, taking a mental health day can provide you with a much-needed break.
Mental health days aren’t for those who are bored or for people struggling with a case of the “Mondays.” If you wake up and have an intense feeling of stress, foreboding or anxiety that impairs your ability to think clearly, a day dedicated to self-care may be just what you need.
The Impact of Mental Health Days
Most people believe that a poor mental state isn’t a good enough reason to take time off work. After all, sick days are for when you’re sick. If you’re physically able, you should go to work — right? This mistaken thinking can lead to burnout, mental breakdowns and even illness. In fact, the majority of doctor visits are caused by stress-related ailments and complaints.
Problems at work or in your personal life can seem overwhelming and inescapable when you deal with them day in and day out without taking a breather. A mental break from work where your full attention is on self-care can provide you with incredible benefits:
- Rest and relaxation
- Easing of stress
- Get a handle on your emotions
- Reset your perspective and evaluate
- Renewed energy to return to work and life
While one day off work may not completely resolve all your stress and anxiety, it gives you a much-needed opportunity to pause and reenergize.
What to Do on a Mental Health Day
Most adults have never taken a day entirely focused on self-care, so a mental health day may feel completely foreign or unnatural to you. If you’re not sure how to spend your time, here are a few suggestions:
- Put your job on mute: Don’t check emails. Don’t take phone calls. If at all possible, completely isolate yourself from all things work-related.
- Avoid social media: It’s easy to get sucked into the world of Facebook and Instagram. These time-wasters could rob you of the chance to focus on your mental health.
- Decide what you need most: Sleep, friendship, fun — take a minute and reflect on what would give you the most benefit from your day off.
- Focus on complete relaxation: Avoid all things that cause you stress and allow yourself to completely relax. That could mean spending the whole day in your PJs with a good book, going to a coffee shop with friends, having a spa day, attending a yoga class or going for a hike. The key is finding an activity that relaxes you.
- Make some changes: This day off is also a good opportunity to restructure and destress your life. Create a list of things that drain your energy and cause stress, and brainstorm ways to cut these triggers out of your life.
Mental Health Is a Key Component to Addiction Prevention
Stress is one of the leading causes of addiction. It’s also an ongoing hurdle among those in Recovery from Alcohol or Drug Addiction. While a mental health day may help you get some perspective, addiction is a disease that requires clinical treatment from compassionate professionals.
At 7 Summit Pathways, we’re here to give you the help you need to break free from addiction. Our treatment is designed to provide you with coping mechanisms to help you deal with life’s stressors in a healthy way. If you’re ready to learn more, we invite you to contact us today.