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Taking a Mental Health Day - Health Benefits Of Taking Care Of Yourself

Edward Neeman | Published: June 14, 2018

Lady breakfast in bed

When it comes to your well-being, it is almost second nature to take a day off from work, school, or anything else if you're feeling ill. Unless you do it frequently, it usually isn't questioned. However, the same kind of consideration is not always given for mental health.

Although not everyone understands, taking a mental health day is just as important as taking off for a physical illness.

What is a Mental Health Day?

When someone talks about having a mental health day, it concerns taking time out for self-care. Professionals agree that your mental health is vital to your overall health. Because of that, it is significant that you treat your mental well-being as serious as your physical welfare.

You can take a mental health day from work, from school, or from other activities in your life. Anything that allows you to set aside time to do something that you enjoy, that relaxes you, etc. can be regarded as a mental health day.

Importance of Taking a Mental Health Day

Other than ensuring that your mental and emotional state remains well, taking a day to yourself also benefits those around you. Let's take working adults as an example.

Certain mental disorders, such as depression, can negatively impact your productivity in the workplace. In addition to that, stress can also lead to poor performance and a burnout at work. So, those employers that promote and encourage taking a mental health day, can see an increase in productivity.

Taking a day out for yourself can help your personal life when it comes to finishing tasks, hobbies, or spending time with friends and loved ones. You will also feel more reinvigorated once it is all over.

Another key point to remember is that it is not only adults that can benefit from a mental health day. Adolescents and children can also see a better performance in school and athletics. Furthermore, it can teach them that their mental health is as important as their physical health, which can also contribute to them being stronger emotionally.

Signs That You Need a Mental Health Day Off

If there is uncertainty about whether or not taking a mental health day is needed for yourself or even loved ones, there are a number of signs you can be on the lookout for:

Sleep Deprivation: It's hard to determine how many hours you should put in, but many Americans are not sleeping as much as they should. A lack of sleep can lead to a host of issues from making it difficult to concentrate to weakening your immune system.

Lower Stress Tolerance: You can notice a decline in your stress tolerance if you're feeling more anxious than usual about your job, schoolwork, etc. If you think you cannot cope with the usual stresses in your life, then it may be time for a mental health day from work or school.

Feelings of Apathy: If you are approaching school and work with a lack of true investment, it can be a sign of apathy. This indifference can translate into your personal life; you may be less willing to associate with friends and family. A mental health day off to reflect on why you feel so lethargic can lead to fixing what has been bothering you.

Substance Abuse: It's well-known that alcohol in moderation can benefit our health. However, too much of it can do the opposite. If you're already feeling anxious and stressed alcohol can worsen it. It also negatively impacts depression.

So, if you or someone close to you is abusing a substance like alcohol more often, a mental health day is a good idea.

Feeling Overwhelmed: If you're feeling overwhelmed with simple tasks, a mental health day may be on the table. For example, it can be trouble with a recipe you're used to making, a hobby, or chores.

Children especially can feel overwhelmed with school life. It stems from issues with assignments, classmates, or even teachers. A mental health day off is what they need to lower that anxiety so they can perform better.

How to Take a Mental Health Day

Though it's good to take a mental health day from work, school, and general life activities, there are good and bad ways to go about it. Some good methods are listed below:

  • Exercise
  • Catch up on sleep
  • Healthier eating habits
  • Mindful meditation (MM)
  • Connecting with friends/family
  • Reach out to a professional/therapist

Taking a mental health day can improve your functionality and overall health as long as it is done the right way. You should avoid feeding negative habits such as continuing to stress, indulging in excessive alcohol use, and sleeping too much.

When it comes to a mental health day off for children, you should take care not to pamper them with things such as binge-watching TV. Getting them more active or figuring out how to solve a problem is a more beneficial mental health day for them than anything else.