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5 Reasons to Take a Mental Health Day

Man laying in a grassy field relaxing

Everyone can benefit from a mental health day occasionally. What is a mental health day, and why should you take one? It’s a time for mental restoration or mental reboot, a day when you’re not physically ill, but your mind and spirit need a tune-up. A growing number of companies are aware of the importance of giving employees mental health days to recuperate after long hours on the job.

Mental health is not simply a state of mind and keeping an upbeat attitude. It’s about taking a step back from the hurried pace of life and recharging mentally and physically. It can also be about learning to manage stress, dealing with anxiety, and taking care of your own needs, rather than someone else’s. Everyone needs that type of freedom occasionally. Taking a mental health day can help you return stronger and be more productive. Here are five other reasons to give yourself permission to boost your well-being with a mental health day.

Avoid Burnout

As much as you appreciate having a job, the day-to-day grind, and the sameness of doing the same thing every weekday can lead to burnout. A mental health day is a chance to break up the monotony and recharge your battery. It’s an opportunity to put work on hold for a short period of time, and sometimes that’s all you need. A mental health day can be more rejuvenating than a vacation, since vacations often involve travel, and that takes planning and work. A mental health day is a chance to chill completely and relax.

Practice Mindfulness

It’s harder to be mindful when you’re running back and forth at work trying to manage too many projects simultaneously. With mindfulness, you pull your mind back to the present moment. A mental health day unencumbered by obligations allows you to do that. You can spend a day living in the present, appreciating nature, and focusing on activities that don’t require you to think, but just be.

Get a New Perspective

When you go to the same job daily and do the same things, it’s easy to lose perspective on whom you are, what makes you happy, where you’re headed, and what your place is in the world. A day off from work to do what strikes your fancy can help you regain your perspective. Unplugging, getting out in nature and enjoying a green space will relax your mind and body in a way that nothing else can.

Catch Up on Sleep

It’s hard not to build up a sleep debt when you have a busy job and family obligations. According to the Sleep Foundation, insufficient sleep can negatively affect your mental health. As they point out, lack of sleep changes how your brain processes emotional information, especially positive emotions. No wonder insufficient sleep puts people in such a bad mood! It can also affect your performance on the job. Sometimes, the best thing you can do on a mental health day is catch up on sleep. Put the alarm clock aside and wake up when you feel like it.

Feed Your Creative Side 

Most jobs aren’t creative; instead, they’re repetitive and do little to foster creativity. Everyone needs a chance to express their inner creativity. A mental health day gives you a chance to do that. So, grab your favorite art and craft supplies and create a masterpiece, or get out a journal and write about anything that strikes your fancy. If you play a music instrument, indulge in a melody or two. Feel what it’s like to not get up to the tune of an alarm clock. 

Nurturing creative instincts and passions can help you perform better when you return to work. A study by Kevin Eschleman, an organizational psychologist, and his team showed that employees who engaged in creative activities outside the job performed better at work. Your employer can appreciate that!

Conclusion

You may not be able to take a mental health day often enough, so set aside 20 minutes daily for relaxation, self-reflection, and creativity. That’s enough to get some benefit if you do it every day. Take a mental health day occasionally, but also make time for relaxation and creative pursuits for short periods daily. It can improve your work performance and make you a happier, more balanced person.


Sources:

“Is Taking a Mental Health Day Actually Good for You ….” 02 Aug. 2019, health.clevelandclinic.org/is-taking-a-mental-health-day-actually-good-for-you/.

“Mental Health and Sleep | Sleep Foundation.” 18 Sept. 2020, sleepfoundation.org/mental-health.

“Creative activities outside work can improve job performance.” news.sfsu.edu/creative-activities-outside-work-can-improve-job-performance.

“Here’s Why You Should Take Mental Health Days – Aaptiv.” aaptiv.com/magazine/take-mental-health-day.

“The Benefits of Mental Health According to Science.” 12 Jun. 2021, positivepsychology.com/benefits-of-mental-health/.

Keng SL, Smoski MJ, Robins CJ. Effects of mindfulness on psychological health: a review of empirical studies. Clin Psychol Rev. 2011;31(6):1041-1056. doi:10.1016/j.cpr.2011.04.006.

3 thoughts on “5 Reasons to Take a Mental Health Day”

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