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Thursday, March 5, 2020

Is It Time to Take a Mental Health Day?

We’re all familiar with the idea of staying home from school or work when we’re under the weather with a cold or a stomach virus. You probably don’t feel well enough to do your best, and if you’re contagious, it’s irresponsible to expose yourself to other people who may catch whatever you have. However, the idea of taking a day specifically to tend to your mental well-being is somewhat less commonplace in the United States – the most overworked country in the world.

Here’s how to tell when it’s time to take a break for your mental health, and why you shouldn’t feel guilty or hesitant to admit when you need to set aside a day or two to manage stress or practice your self-care routine.

How to Tell If You Need a Mental Health Day

Sometimes, life feels overwhelming. Even glancing at the day’s headline news can be exhausting. If this burden becomes too heavy and you are starting to experience the symptoms of burnout, it could be because you haven’t given yourself enough time to do the healthy hobbies that serve as an outlet to keep stress at a minimum.

Chronic stress comes with a whole host of issues, from high blood pressure to headaches. You may be unmotivated and find yourself detaching from responsibilities that used to be engaging for you. If that’s the case, you should schedule a day for self-care activities such as getting a massage or spending time with friends.

Reasons to Take a Mental Health Day

If you want to be healthy, you shouldn’t neglect your mental well-being. Just as you need to build rest days into your physical exercise routine, your mind and spirit need occasional downtime to recover. Listen to what your inner voice is telling you. If you wake up feeling exhausted, use your best judgment and decide when it’s time to take a day off school or work.

It’s OK if you don’t want to go into a high level of detail with co-workers, teachers or classmates about why you took a mental health day. It’s not a stretch of the truth to say you weren’t feeling your best and thought you’d be better off staying home.

Ideas for How to Spend Your Mental Health Day

What should you do with your day off? Anything that helps you feel better and manage stress qualifies as a good mental health day activity, even if it’s something as straightforward as taking a nap. The goal is not to spend the day running errands, doing chores or organizing your email inbox. Instead, focus on activities you find relaxing, whether that’s doing yoga, fitting in an extra session with your therapist or taking a long, hot bath. Allow your brain to unplug and the burdens to lift from your shoulders.

Renewed Focus on Your Health

At first, the idea of taking a day strictly to focus on your mental well-being might seem selfish or overly indulgent. However, by allowing yourself time to unwind and de-stress, you’ll return from your day off with renewed enthusiasm to be a better employee, student, friend or family member. Developing a habit of taking time off when you need it will help create more balance in your daily life.

If you need to seek treatment for health issues such as substance abuse or co-occurring disorders, Hope Academy is here for you. Contact us to learn about our specialized program offerings for young adults.
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