In today’s world, there has been more acceptance of mental health disorders as more people are talking and coming out about their mental health. Mental illness doesn’t have to be something as extreme as bipolar disorder; it can be something as common as stress, anxiety or depression. We all have dealt with some stress or anxiety at some point.
As Americans, with our long demanding working hours and vacation time barely being used, we can suffer from stress to the point of exhaustion. It can affect our work performance and even our personal lives. We wake up and dread the thought of walking into the workplace. It’s not that you want to quit your job; you just need a break – a mental break. This is when you take a mental health day.
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When Do You Take a Mental Health Day
Being aware of your mind and body is imperative to know when you need a break. If you find yourself having trouble focusing on work, being more irritable with others and you feel as if you just want to scream, then it may be time to take a mental health day.
It is very easy to feel guilty about not being physically sick and taking a day off. Just like your physical health your mental health is just as important and needs to be taken care of to be well.
Some workplaces, unfortunately, are not acceptable to days off if you aren’t physically sick. This being said you will have to decide whether, to be honest about the reason you are taking the day off or just use your sick day.
Benefits of Taking a Mental Health Day
When we take a break from the stress and let our minds breath and recharge, it can do wonders. Research shows that taking a break can actually help productivity and creativity therefore, coming back to work being able to focus and being more productive. You are actually helping your company by taking the day off.
While it may be a plus for your company, it also most importantly helps with your well-being. Taking a mental health day can help you in many ways such as de-stress, relax, rest, understand your emotions, reset your perspective and maybe a need to step back and reevaluate your goals in life. When you are overwhelmed and stress you tend to not see things clearly and by taking a break you will be focused and be able to get back on track.
What to Do on Your Break
When you have made the decision to take a mental health day you need to be aware and understand what you are in need of the most. If you are exhausted physically then maybe you need to sleep in a couple of hours and/or do light activities that you enjoy that won’t overexert you and make you more tired. Such as taking a walk, doing a yoga class, going for a swim or getting a massage.
If you usually enjoy work but are feeling bored to death lately, maybe you just need to go have fun by going to the beach, having lunch with friends, going to an art museum. Do something that inspires you and engages your mind. Whether it’s tackling your personal to-do list or skydiving; whatever you decide make sure you are getting what you need out of your day.
What Not to Do
When we get overwhelmed, stressed and depressed we sometimes feel we want to hide from the world, but this is the worst thing you could do. Things to avoid are:
- Binge-watch Netflix
- Avoid friends and family
- Smoke, drink or use other substances
- Overeat unhealthy foods
- Ruminate in negative emotions
- Spend your day on social media
The point of taking a mental health day is to feel better and get well. If you don’t have some fun and enjoy your day and do what is necessary to get out of your funk, you would have wasted your day off and would not have remedied your stress or whatever that had caused you to take the day off in the first place.
Being in Recovery and Needing a Mental Health Day
The feeling of anxiety, stress and being overwhelmed are very dangerous for people in recovery if we don’t have the tools to cope. We should be very aware when something doesn’t feel quite right. The majority of us addicts started using and abusing substances to deal with these feelings in the first place. If we are in need of mental health day we need to get back to basics.
Besides asking for a day off of work, we call our supports, get to a support group meeting and talk about it. We are not strangers to feel these uncomfortable feelings so we should be well prepared and know what tools to use. We may have an advantage over others that are not in recovery that may use substances as a way to cope. We have been there and done that and know that it does not work.
If you know of someone that may be coping in unhealthy ways through drinking or using drugs, give Garden State Treatment Center a call today. We understand that a couple of drinks or a couple smokes to ease the stress of every day can lead to addiction and we are here to help. Our Garden State Treatment Center staff are experienced in treating addiction at its core. We identify the underlying causes of substance abuse to give our clients an opportunity for a full recovery.