Why is taking a mental health day important?

dreamy woman laying in stylish hammock

Stress is inevitable. The world contains billions of stressors, many of which we will encounter within our lifetime. How we navigate and respond to life’s stressors is directly coordinated with our mental and emotional health. Thus, it is important to offer ourselves time and space to relax and revitalize.

What are stressors?

Stress is not the same thing as a stressor. Have you ever heard of the phrase “fight or flight?” When our mind encounters a perceived threat (or a stressor), it activates a stress response. The stress response is called fight or flight.

Stressors can be positive or negative. Here are some examples of common stressors:

  • Change in Job (Loss / New Job)
  • Retirement
  • Marriage / Divorce
  • Death of a Loved One
  • Transitioning into Adulthood
  • Moving
  • Injury / Illness
  • Imprisonment
  • Financial Problems
  • Workplace (Fear of Firing, Overworked)

It is important to note that not every stressor causes stress (or a stress response). In fact, the response to the stressor varies person to person. Many factors are at play when we encounter a stressor that affects the stress response. One of the biggest factors is our mental health.

How does mental health affect our stress response?

As we know, long-term exposure to stress is linked to burnout, depression, and anxiety. Short-term stress can be just as harmful to our mental health. For example, stress can cause irritability, insomnia, fatigue, sadness, memory problems, and more.

As we go through life, the impact of stress can constantly work against our mental health. This is especially true if we are not making time to care for our mental health. It is really difficult to prosper when we feel overwhelmed. In fact, the more overwhelmed we feel, the more likely we are to experience burnout. This is why mental health days are important.

What is a Mental Health Day?

We all need rest. There is no shame in taking a break. Mental health days are meant to allow yourself space to reduce stress and burnout so that you may comeback with more energy the next day.

Mental health days can be a scheduled day off from work or other important responsibilities. Many people feel guilty taking a day off, especially when it is “not for a serious emergency.” However, your mental health always has been and always should be a priority. Thus, you should never feel guilty for taking a mental health day. That being said, if you still feel that your day off is a burden, try scheduling a mental health day in advance. When you plan ahead, you allow yourself and others to prepare in advance. Nevertheless, mental health symptoms are not planned, therefore, you may need to take an unscheduled mental health day too. That is okay. If your mental health is not well, then you are not going to be as productive as the team needs you to be.

You do your best when you feel your best. So, take care of yourself. You deserve to be the best version of yourself.

What should I do on a mental health day?

Every mental health day may look different. Your mental health days may look different for you than it does for others. Your mental health day should reflect what you need. Do you need time to rest? Do you need to catch up on activities around the house? Do you need pampering? Do you need social time with loved ones? Do you need to practice your self-care routine? Spend the day doing what YOU need. A mental health day is about making YOU feel better.

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