9 Signs You Need a Mental Health Day
While taking sick days for physical health is commonplace, the practice of taking time off from work or school to tend to your mental health is more of a gray area. Taking time off when you need a mental break can be challenging, even though many companies have policies for mental health or personal days. You may be feeling guilty or hesitant to use one of your few paid time off (PTO) days and push yourself to show up anyway. Yet, when you’re feeling a lot of stress, you and your work suffer, potentially leading to issues that can hurt both your and your co-workers’ performance. Knowing when it is time to take a mental health day for yourself to rest is crucial to maintaining both a healthy body and mind, both in and outside the workplace.
Feeling Stress Can Impact Your Overall Health
What is Mental Health and Wellness?
Our emotional, psychological, and social well-being can affect our mental health. It can affect how we think, act, and feel. Our mental well-being also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to those we work with, and make healthy choices. Mental health is important at every stage in our life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.
When you experience mental health problems your thinking, mood, behavior, and physical health could potentially be affected. Some different factors that contribute to mental health issues include the following:
- Biological factors, such as genes or brain chemistry
- Life experiences, such as trauma or abuse
- Family history of mental health problems
Mental health problems are common and over time with help, many people are able to get better and recover completely.
Differences Between Mental Health and Mental Illness
What is the Difference Between Mental Health and Mental Disorders?
While the terms commonly get mixed up, “mental illness” and “mental health” are not the same.
While mental health refers to a person’s state of mental, and emotional well-being — mental illnesses are diagnosed conditions that affect thoughts and behaviors. Though anyone can have moments of poor mental health, not everyone has a mental illness.
When a person is experiencing poor mental health that does not necessarily mean that they will be diagnosed with a mental illness. Likewise, a person diagnosed with a mental illness can have days of mental, physical, and social well-being.
9 Signs You Need A Mental Health Day
Mental Health Signs
It’s very easy to ignore your mental health needs. You shouldn’t overlook the potential benefits, for both your mind and body, that having a break will have. Taking a few mental health days from school or work can be a great way to clear your mind and reset.
If you are unsure whether you could use this type of break, here are nine warning signs that may tell you if you should consider taking some time off for your mental health.
Are the actions of those around you setting you off more than usual? If you feel more crabby or on edge than normal, whether it’s irritability or sensitivity, you may have a good reason to take a mental health day. Having some time to be alone to rest and relax may be just what you need to feel less irritable.
Feeling Overwhelmed by Work
If you are spending your days consumed with work, that may be a clear sign you need a mental health day. When you feel like you can’t focus on anything except the office, it is important to take a break to prevent burnout down the line.
High Anxiety Levels
While many may consider having anxiety as normal, increased anxiety should be taken seriously and could result in a day or two off from work. Anxiety could look very different depending on the person and case, but some common symptoms include feeling nauseous, having shortness of breath, sweating, and restlessness. If your symptoms become more severe you may be experiencing a panic attack, which should be addressed by contacting a medical expert such as a psychologist. Overall, listen to your mind and body they may be letting you know that it is time to take a break.
Suggested Article: Difference Between a Panic Attack and Heart Attack
Disconnecting with Co-Workers
You may find yourself feeling more distant than usual even though you may love your job and co-workers. If you feel disconnected without being able to come up with a specific reason as to why you could be feeling this way that may be a sign that something is wrong. Taking a short break from it all with a mental health day may be exactly what you need in order to prevent further burnout at work.
Often Feel Sick
The systems in our body are connected, which is why our mental health impacts our medical health. It is probably time for you to take a mental health day if you can’t seem to recover from sickness. A possible reason that your cold keeps returning week after week or it won’t seem to go away for days on end is that your body is signaling it needs rest. While you may not feel sick enough for a sick day, a mental health day could be just what you need to help you recover.
Does your mind often feel cloudy or unclear, causing you to easily lose focus? Are you constantly explain to people how you feel “out of it?” What may help clear your mental fog could be as simple as taking a day to stay at home and read a good book, watch a favorite show, or start a new puzzle. Feeling foggy is a common sign of needing amental health day.
Lack of Sleep or Restless Sleep
If you are struggling with insomnia or constantly losing sleep, your mental health could be negatively impacted. Not getting enough sleep for multiple days can create a cycle of mental health problems causing sleeping problems, which in turn may cause more significant mental health problems. When you feel yourself starting to get trapped in this cycle you should take a day off to rest. If you take time off and still feel as though you aren’t able to get enough sleep it may be a sign of a bigger issue. If that is the case you should then make an appointment with a medical expert.
Suggested Article: How Sleep Impacts Your Health: Tips to Get Better Sleep
No Appetite or Change In Eating Habits
Do you recently find you find yourself snacking uncontrollably or making frequent trips to fast food joints when you normally try to eat healthy? This is called often called “stress eating” and could be a sign that you may be feeling more stressed than normal or depressed, and a few days of rest may help.
When to Take a mental Health Day For Yourself
How to Take a Mental Health Day
Taking days for your mental health can help you relax, reset, rest, and just feel better in general. Having a day without meetings, deadlines, and stress should not be underestimated. In some situations, though, a few days of rest may not be enough. If you are still struggling, do not hesitate to seek out help from a mental health expert.
Minimize Stress and Recharge Your Mental Health
Benefits of Taking a Mental Health Day
There are many benefits to taking a mental health day that can relieve stress, give you perspective, reset your emotional state, and recharge your energy. Asking yourself, “What’s a good reason to take a mental health day?” A commitment to minimize emotional stressors and make your overall health a priority is always a great reason. Here are some of the more essential reasons a mental health day can help you recharge:
Reduce Stress and Anxiety
The number one benefit of taking a mental health day is to minimize the amount of work stress and anxiety you’re experiencing. You could experience great job stress and anxiety at any kind of workplace not just in a high-stress, fast-paced environment, like an ER or the stock market.
Unfortunately, most all jobs come with at least some degree of stress. It might be from deadlines, a demanding boss, productivity requirements, or just having to get the kids ready and off to school so you can get to work on time every morning. Whatever the reason your job may be increasing your stress levels, taking a mental health day away from it all will allow you to reset and recharge.
Help You Refocus
Stepping away from a stressful situation, even for a short period of time, can help you shift your perspective and look at your job more objectively. Sometimes taking some time away from the office is just what you need to turn things around if you’ve been distracted, feeling stuck, or unmotivated to perform at your best level.
Taking some time away can be good for more than just one reason, though. It can also help give awareness on whether there’s something more going on than just being tired and overworked. If you feel as though there is more going on, that may be a sign that you need to reset and look to switch jobs or careers. A mental health day is great for giving you a better perspective.
When workers are tired and stressed they are less productive. A recent study by the University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita found that there’s a negative correlation between stress and productivity.
What this means is that the higher your stress level is, the less productive you will be. To minimize your stress and increase productivity you should take a day to prioritize your mental health.
Alleviate Physical Health Problems
Some studies suggest that burnout is a likely contributor to somatic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and a lowered immune response. A great reason to take care of yourself and your mental health are these potential consequences that come from a stressful job.
Combat Job Burnout
Lastly, every so often you should take a day off for your mental well-being to help you keep feeling great reward and satisfaction with your job. Just because job burnout can be one reason that you may be feeling overwhelmed, emotional, and undervalued does not mean that it’s the only cause for those feelings.
Depression has been proven, by research, to be directly linked to burnout. In multiple countries it has become a legitimately acceptable reason for sick leave.
Great Ways To Spend Your Mental Health Day
Ideas and Tips for Mental Health Days
Now that you’ve determined that a mental health day is what you need, it’s time to decide a goodway to spend it.
On the one precious day you have off do not work! You don’t want to make the commitment to spend your mental health day working from home or taking phone calls from your boss or co-workers. That’s not what a good mental health day should look like.
Have the kids keep their normal schedule and consider taking them to daycare or school like you would normally. Not having the added commitment of watching your kids on your day off allows you to ensure that you have time to recharge and spoil yourself.
Think of this as a great time to treat yourself, recharge, and to try some things you have wanted to do, but never seem to have the time or energy for. Maybe it’s finally going to that exhibit at your local art museum, asking a friend to go to lunch at a new restaurant, or even just sitting on your back porch with that novel you’ve been meaning to read.
Looking for other ways to spend your mental health day? You can:
- Get a massage
- Read a book
- Take a bike ride
- Ask a friend to lunch
- Be creative- paint, draw, write
- Start a puzzle
- Try a local coffee shop
- Go for a hike
- Sleep in
- Do yoga
- Journal for mental health
- Run errands
- Listen to music
- Go shopping
- Take a bath
There are so many different ways to spend your mental health day, but remember there is no right or wrong way to use your time off to reset. The reason you are taking this day is to relieve and minimize the stress you feel from work and to focus on you and your mental wellness.
Mental Health Help in Wichita, Kansas
Getting Professional Mental Health Help
If you need help with mental health support, you can connect with a local provider that specializes in coounselling. You can also call a hotline: SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders. If you or someone you know is in crisis, text or call 988 to be connected with the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.
If you are looking to find a mental health provider, counseling, support, or a friend who listens in Wichita, Kansas — HealthCore Clinic can help. Our culturally appropriate mental health and substance abuse services are designed to reduce stigma and provide a comfortable and safe environment for the management of anxiety, depression, trauma, and behavioral support for other mental health and medical diagnoses.
Our team of mental health specialists are here to help provide you with the best treatment for you. It all starts with a consultation, which you can schedule by calling us or requesting an appointment online. We understand what it is like to struggle with different health problems and have created a safe environment for you to talk confidentially about any issues you are dealing with.
You are not alone. HealthCore Clinic is here to help.