How to Take a Mental Health Day
A mental health day consists of taking a day off work, school, or daily responsibilities in order to give yourself a mental break. This can include focusing on your mental health, relieving stress, and working towards preventing potential burnout. It has also become clearer over the years that mental health holds as great of importance as physical health.
It is standard practice in many fields of work to take days off when feeling sick. This gives your body time to rest, heal, and reset. The same should be said for mental health. Research has shown that our mental state can have a direct impact on our physical health. Studies have shown that poor mental health can increase the risk and severity of chronic illnesses, sleeping difficulties, and developing health complications. Studies have also found that having overall positive mental health can decrease the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and various medical conditions. Mental health days are vital because by prioritizing mental health, we are also taking care of our overall well-being.
So now that we know why mental health days are so crucial, how do we take one and what should we do during that time? Mental health days can come in all shapes and sizes, fitting the mold of a person’s individual needs. Mental health days can be taken by calling out sick, taking time off work, or planning one in advance for a day you are already free. As previously stated, the overall goal of a mental health day is to decrease stress, process and evaluate your emotions, rest, relax, and reset. Doing so can help give a new perspective and a clearer mind to face the responsibilities that are ahead.
Below are some suggestions on what to do during your mental health day:
- Pampering yourself: this can include (but not limited to) getting a massage, going to a spa or salon, taking a relaxing bath/shower.
- Going for a run, walk, swim, or drive
- Planning a fun activity out of the house, especially one you enjoy doing. This can be done alone or with a friend/loved one. Some examples include going shopping, visiting a museum, going to a park, attending local events, going to the movies, seeing a play, attending a concert, etc.
- Taking time to do hobbies you enjoy doing. This can include video games, crafts, sports, dancing, puzzles, gardening, cooking, reading, watching TV/movies, drawing etc. This is one that is primarily dependent on what you like to do and are passionate about.
- Exercising/doing yoga
- Setting time to get a good night’s sleep/taking a nap
- Eating regularly throughout the day & staying hydrated
- Setting and evaluating goals you have for yourself and positive changes you would like to make.
- Getting outside and moving around
- Meditating and practicing mindfulness techniques
- Socializing, calling, facetiming, and communicating with friends and loved ones.
- Nothing: sometimes what you may need most is to do nothing and give yourself the okay to not do anything. This day does not have to be productive in the traditional sense.
It is important to note that this is not an exclusive list of recommendations, and everyone will have their own idea and ways of having a positive mental health day. If you feel like you are overwhelmed, reaching a level of burnout, or just need time to decompress, take a mental health day. Make it your own and don’t forget to practice self-compassion and kindness!
WebMD Editorial Contributers (n.d.). Mental health: How it affects your physical health. WebMD. Retrieved April 3, 2022, from https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/how-does-mental-health-affect-physical-health
Scott, E. (July 30, 2021). When you should take a mental health day. Very Well Mind. Retrieved April 3, 2022, from https://www.verywellmind.com/when-and-how-to-take-a-mental-health-day-3144754