Work and personal life pressures can often affect our mental well-being in today’s fast-paced world. When this happens, taking a step back and prioritizing self-care is crucial and can be a game-changer.
Taking a mental health day can be the first step in doing so, allowing us to recharge and focus on our emotional and psychological needs.
However, knowing how to approach the conversation with our employers or loved ones can be challenging. In this article, we’ll explore some helpful tips on what to say when you need a mental health day and why it’s important to prioritize your mental health.
I’ll share real-life examples of how to approach needing a mental health day with your employer and give you specific points to help your employer understand your position.
What is a mental health day?
A mental health day is a specific day taken off from work or other obligations to prioritize one’s mental and emotional well-being. It’s an opportunity to recharge and focus on self-care, including activities such as meditation, exercise, therapy, or simply taking a break from work-related or life stressors.
The intention of a mental health day is to give oneself the space and time needed to recover from any emotional or psychological strains that may be impacting their daily life. It’s a proactive approach to managing mental health and can ultimately lead to increased productivity, creativity, and overall happiness.
Benefits of a mental health day
- Reduced stress: Taking a mental health day can help to minimize stress levels by providing an opportunity to disconnect from work-related stressors and other life pressures.
- Increased productivity: Prioritizing mental health through taking a day off can increase productivity when returning to work or other obligations, as individuals feel more refreshed and focused.
- Improved mental well-being: A mental health day can give individuals time to focus on their emotional and psychological needs, such as practicing mindfulness or seeking therapy, ultimately improving their mental well-being.
- Better physical health: Taking a mental health day can also positively affect physical health, such as improving sleep patterns, reducing headaches, and reducing overall levels of physical tension.
- Enhanced creativity: A break from the daily grind can also help enhance creativity and problem-solving abilities, as individuals can step back and gain new perspectives.
- Reduced burnout: Prioritizing self-care through a mental health day can help prevent burnout, a common consequence of prolonged stress and overwork.
- Improved relationships: Taking a mental health day can also positively impact relationships, as individuals are better equipped to communicate effectively and manage stressors in their personal lives.
Taking a mental health day can have numerous benefits for individuals. First, it allows time to focus on self-care and prioritize personal well-being. By taking a break from work or other stressors, individuals can engage in activities promoting relaxation and stress relief, such as meditation, exercise, or outdoor time.
Additionally, a mental health day can allow individuals to address any mental health concerns they may be experiencing, such as anxiety or depression, by seeking professional help or simply taking time to reflect and process their emotions.
Taking a mental health day can also improve overall productivity and job satisfaction, as individuals return to work feeling refreshed and recharged. Overall, taking a mental health day is vital in maintaining good mental health and well-being.
How to say when you need a mental health day?
A few factors are important when communicating that you need a mental health day. First, remember that you’re not explicitly asking for a day of not working, but rather asking for time to nurture your needs, prioritize your mental health and therefore improve your overall well-being and ability to work efficiently.
When communicating that you need a mental health day, being honest and direct is important. Start by acknowledging the importance of your mental well-being and how taking a day off can benefit both you and your employer or loved ones in the long run.
You should mention specific stressors or challenges you currently face and how they impact your mental health. Be clear about your intentions for the day, whether it’s to practice self-care activities or seek professional support. It’s important to communicate that you take your responsibilities seriously and will ensure that your work or obligations are covered while you are away.
Lastly, express gratitude for the understanding and support of your employer or loved ones, and reinforce your commitment to returning to work or other responsibilities feeling refreshed and recharged. Remember, being open and honest about your mental health needs can help to break down stigma and promote a culture of self-care and support.
Examples of what to say when you need a mental health day
- “I wanted just to connect and let you know that I am struggling with my mental health and need to take a day off to prioritize my well-being. I will complete any urgent tasks before I go and provide clear instructions for my colleagues to cover my responsibilities while I am away.”
- “I appreciate the support you’ve shown me, but I need to take a mental health day to focus on my emotional well-being. I have been feeling overwhelmed and know that taking this time to practice self-care will help me be more productive and focused when I return to work.”
- “I am reaching out because I need to take a mental health day to address some personal challenges impacting my mental health. I will ensure that my work is covered while I am away and will be in touch with any updates or needs.”
- “I want to tell you that I need to take a day off to seek professional support for my mental health. I understand the impact this may have on my work, but I am committed to ensuring that my responsibilities are covered and will be back in the office as soon as possible.”
Why it’s essential to take a mental health day?
Taking a mental health day when needed is important because it allows individuals to prioritize their physical and emotional well-being. The demands of work, personal life, and other responsibilities can often lead to prolonged periods of stress and burnout, which can harm mental and physical health.
By taking a mental health day, individuals can take a step back, reflect on their needs, and engage in activities that promote self-care and recovery. This can then lead to increased productivity, better physical health, and improved relationships.
Prioritizing mental health through taking a day off can also help to prevent burnout, reduce stress levels, and promote overall well-being. By caring for our mental health, we can show up more fully and effectively in all areas of our lives.
Signs you need a mental health day
- Feeling overwhelmed or exhausted, even after getting enough sleep.
- Experiencing persistent anxiety, depression, or mood swings.
- Struggling to concentrate or stay focused on tasks.
- Losing interest in activities that you typically enjoy.
- Having difficulty making decisions or feeling indecisive.
- Experiencing physical symptoms, like headaches, stomachaches, or muscle tension.
- Feeling irritable or easily frustrated with others.
- Difficulty sleeping or experiencing disrupted sleep patterns.
- Feeling emotionally drained or like you’re running on empty.
- Experiencing a decrease in motivation or productivity.
- Feeling like you’re on the verge of burnout.
- Neglecting your physical and emotional needs, such as healthy eating, exercise, or socializing.
In conclusion, taking a mental health day is essential to prioritizing your well-being and ensuring you can show up fully and effectively in all areas of your life. While communicating your needs and taking time off may be challenging, it is critical to remember mental health is as integral to our well-being as physical health.
Natasha MacFarlane is a writer, blogger, and mental health advocate. After being diagnosed in her 20’s with bipolar disorder, Natasha has worked tirelessly to educate others’, culivate community, and share her experiences to ensure no one ever feels alone. In doing so, Natasha has two self-published poetry books exploring some of her darkest times, 2 blogs, and an Instagram community that has grown exponentially in it’s only 6 months of being around. When Natasha isn’t writing, you can find her walking in nature with her toes in the grass, listening to her favorite true crime podcasts or playing soccer with her 3 kids. Natasha enjoys a slower pace of life in a small rural Manitoba town with her husband three kids and is fueled by her passion for words.