Most if not all people experience stress to some degree, whether it stems from their jobs, home life, relationships, or other life factors. Many also deal with anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues. Moderate to low levels of stress shouldn’t be alarming and can actually be good motivation to get urgent things done, however, high levels of stress can lead to poor mental health and burnout.
If you sense that you are becoming overwhelmed by stress, a mental health day may be just what you need.
What is a mental health day?
Mental health day may look different from person to person, but the term itself refers to a day when an individual allows themselves to take a break from their responsibilities, whatever they may be, to rejuvenate and re-energize.
This is essential for avoiding burnout, especially at work. Burnout is when people struggle to find satisfaction or meaning in their jobs, are emotionally, physically, and mentally exhausted by stress, or feel too drained to be the best employees they can be. Taking a mental health day can boost productivity, focus, and motivation so you come back ready to meet new challenges.
How do you ask for one?
If you are fortunate enough to have an employer who values wellness, then asking for a mental health day may be quite easy. For those whose work culture does not prioritize mental and emotional health, then requesting a mental health day may be perceived negatively. In that case, it can be worth it to just take a regular sick day or use a vacation day.
How to maximize your mental health day.
Get plenty of rest
Try to get adequate sleep the night before your mental health day. This will support good mental health and emotional well-being, as well as help you make the most out of your day.
Avoid the temptation of indulging in your favorite junk foods (a mental health day is not “vacation”), and instead, think of food as fuel to strengthen your body and mind, and reach for something filling and nutritious.
Work on your brain
Instead of staring at a screen all day, take on a stimulating activity (or a few if you want!) that interests you such as completing a puzzle, reading a book, or sketching. Though this is a rest day, it’s important to engage in rewarding mental activities to unwind and recharge.
Talk to your people
Use this day to connect with people who make you feel positive and inspired. Seek out the company or conversation of people who will nurture your mental health rather than drain or stress you out.
Do something nice for yourself.
Take this day as an opportunity to treat yourself to something you wouldn’t normally pamper yourself with. Of course, try to avoid spending superfluous quantities of cash or planning something too intricate as that could add to the stress you’re trying to relieve. Maybe take yourself on a trip to a museum you’ve had your eye on or schedule a massage at your favorite spa. The key is to allow yourself to receive, enjoy, and relax.