Now more than ever, there has been a lot of attention devoted to mental health. Quite frankly, it’s been long overdue. However, conversations alone won’t be enough to solve our issues regarding mental health. All of us need to apply what we learn. In other words, we need to focus and commit to our mental health to do our part to help others.
“Toughing it out” or “grinding every day” could be seen as admirable, but it ultimately doesn’t help you or the group that you’re a part of. Whether you’re in school, working a career, or are a part of a team, taking a mental health day can help you both now and in the future.
When to Take a Mental Health Day
When Life is Too Loud
If your day is filled with a lot of noise that leads to confusion and feeling overwhelmed, you should consider a personal or mental health day. When you can’t focus, you may make simple mistakes that you have to correct later. If you feel anxious, you may react negatively towards yourself or someone else. Trying to organize everything when you have those feelings can only make matters worse, or you could miss something that may affect the results later.
When You Need Sleep
If the stress of life affects your ability to sleep, you need to take a day away from everything and allow yourself to recover. Lack of sleep can lead to numerous issues that can affect your mental and physical health. You won’t be at your best for the others you work with, and trying to power through isn’t really that beneficial. It could make things worse if something doesn’t go right and you blame yourself.
Major Life Adversity
This could be depression, an injury, or something that involves a loved one. Understandably, something like that can affect your mental health and create negative feelings. This is a time that you need to take for yourself. Putting yourself first in situations like this are for the best regardless of whatever else is going on.
How to Take a Mental Health Day
Clear the Schedule
Look at your calendar for the day, and take a few minutes to reschedule or cancel whatever you need to so nothing is going on that day. The slate should be completely blank. Call in to work, reschedule appointments, and leave the emails alone. If you have a boss that supports you, make it clear that you need a mental health day. If you feel that may not be the best idea, don’t feel obligated to share. Just make it clear you can’t come in. After this is done, sit and decide what you want to do for that day. Everything that follows now are suggestions and ideas. Don’t feel limited by what’s here.
This is the best part of a mental health day – it’s all about what you want to do. You should focus on something that you enjoy doing. Want to chill in a park? Go for it. Binge on a series you’ve wanted to watch? Great. Any particular place that you want to go for shopping or get a meal? Do that. That book that has sat on your nightstand for months? Break it open. Turn on music and bob your head to the tunes. Don’t feel obligated to do certain things or one thing.
There are several ways to relax and unwind. Lying down and listening to soft music, taking part in a yoga class, treating yourself to a massage session, or going for a long walk or drive. Doing something with no concern for life’s stressors, even if it is for a little while, can be a big game-changer mentally. Don’t be afraid to take time to do nothing, either. Sitting in a room or lying on your bed and allowing yourself to “be” is a good idea.
Sometimes releasing aggression that negatively hurts no one else can be a great form of stress relief. Hit the weights in the gym, go on a run, hit a heavy bag, take part in an aerobics class or bike ride, or find another way to exert yourself physically. Training and working out can help you feel both relieved and accomplished.
Regroup and Reset
When (and only when) you feel ready to resume life, commit an hour to organize everything you have going on, and prepare a strategy to execute everything accordingly. At the very least, have an idea of what you can do to start off on the right foot. Having a plan and following it can make your day and life easier, which can help you stay refreshed and energized.