Have you ever felt that you should take a day off but you’re technically not sick and taking a vacation is not in your immediate future? You know the feeling: you’re overwhelmed, burned out, or just blah about the usual stuff. Should you power through and make it to the weekend to get that much-needed rest or will your well being and emotional health suffer if you do?
You Need a Mental Health Day!
Taking a mental health day is underrated, yet a necessity for your well being and feeling good when you’re not at your best.
In our multi-tasking culture —thank you smartphones, not!— you have the need to be productive so ingrained in your mind that calling in sick doesn’t feel quite right. Because, well, technically, you’re not coughing your lungs out or unable to stand up.
So, should you call in sick for the sake of your well being? The short answer: yes, especially if you notice one of these 10 signs.
You May Want to Step Back and Take a Mental Health Day if You Have Some of These:
If you start to notice that you’re getting more upset than usual or overreacting to stuff that normally bothers you, don’t ignore it.
Taking a day to relax and try to decompress can help you reboot and release that pent-up anger. Go for a long walk to watch the sunrise or sunset while you get some exercise. Listen to calming music, pace your breathing, take a bath, or sip some tea. Do anything you’d normally do to relax.
Do not put this off. Take a mental health day and use it to address this underrated sign that something’s just off with you. Doing it when it matters can make a difference and avoid embarrassment in life in general and possibly even at work.
So go ahead and take a day for yourself, they probably won’t miss your angry self at work!
You need to feel better about yourself now
It’s not uncommon to be self-conscious, especially with all the unrealistic images that social media pushes on us.
You need to draw the line and realize that most internet-famous people only post stuff from their best days, and most of the time the beautifully-curated pictures that you see are nothing but a crammed session with a photographer, shot all in one day.
These pictures are later “sprinkled” in their social media accounts on a daily basis, giving the impression that the person just headed out the door like that or does something awesome every day.
It’s important to draw the line between fantasy and reality, and realize that some of these people collaborate with companies to sell products to their followers. So take them for what they are: paid models in a digital magazine and don’t compare your life to what you see online.
Do prioritize time for you. If you’re feeling low, take a mental health day to reflect and asses your well being.
If you realize you need to talk to someone that can give you their uninterested and unbiased advice, play it safe and book an appointment with a psychologist. They’re trained professionals who will listen to your story without tending to their own personal agenda or expect the reciprocity that typically comes with friendship.
You need to figure things out
If you find yourself constantly distracted by an issue in your mind, use a mental health day to take the first steps to get the issue addressed. Even if it means baby steps.
Maybe you want to take the day to think about your next career move, how to get rid of someone toxic, or just get around to that task that makes you put everything else on hold (or so you tell yourself). Disconnect yourself from the world and use this day to figure things out and feel better.
Be realistic – you’re not going to solve all your problems or come up with a complete blueprint of what you want to do, but you can set things in motion if you allocate a good chunk of hours to making one positive change that’ll get you on track.
Someone asked you to do something that goes against your core values
I’m not talking about anything too tragic like being asked to do something unethical or illegal, which you should refuse.
What I mean is a scenario where you were asked to do something that you fundamentally disagree with or goes against your core values, and when asked about it, you did not feel you could outright refuse the assignment or request.
In this situation, it’s better to take a day off to give yourself time to regroup and think about your options.
Follow your gut feeling and distance yourself from the person. Perhaps it’ll send the person a message that you’re not on board with the request so that when you finally tell them, it’s unsurprising. It’ll also give you more time to come up with an idea to get around to rejecting the assignment or come up with something acceptable to them, without sacrificing what matters to you.
You are accident-prone
A common sign that you need to get some rest is when you’re clumsy – or, well, in my case, clumsier than usual. This might be a sign that you’re overtired, sleep deprived or burned-out.
You could not sleep at night
If you could not sleep for enough hours the night before, chances are you are not going to be too productive at work anyway.
Sleep deprivation is also detrimental to your emotional health. As well, if you drive to work, you could put yourself or others in danger. So stay in, take a nap, and get to bed early that day. You’ll wake up feeling better the next morning and reset your routine and your overall well being.
You have a bad headache or migraine
Getting proper rest when you have a bad headache or a migraine can sometimes mean the difference between it being over in a matter of hours or extending over a few days.
Some people find that wearing a sleep mask and taking a good nap can really help them cope and resolve their headache.
Your mouth and lips feel very dry and you are extremely thirsty
Becoming dehydrated is actually easier than you can imagine.
One of the first signs of mild dehydration is thirst, but as it progresses you can experience dry mouth, too. It’s important to pay attention to these signs so that they don’t develop any further.
A few years back I ignored the early signs of dehydration and ended up fainting, in the ER, and $700 poorer!
So, feel better and avoid wasting your hard-earned money by drinking water often. Here’s what you should do if you’re dehydrated.
Your home is so messy it’s affecting your emotional health
Okay, this may sound trivial but if you’re at the point where your home is a mess and it’s causing you to be disorganized and lose focus, you might want to take some time off to take care of it.
This is an overlooked part of feeling good, a component of your overall well being. If it’s been a while and this is still bothering you, take a mental health day for yourself and your home. You’ll feel better the next morning.
You have occupational burn-out
Recently, the World Health Organization included burn-out in its Classification of Diseases, as an “occupational phenomenon”. Burn-out is described in a chapter called “factors influencing health status or contact with health services – which includes reasons for which people contact health services but that are not classed as illnesses or health conditions.”
According to the WHO, burn-out results “from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”
So, you should look out for these indicators: “feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job; and reduced professional efficacy.”
If you are experiencing any of these things and feel like you need a day off, go ahead and take it.
Consider it a precaution to avoid feeling worse or becoming actually sick in the upcoming days. These signs about the state of your emotional health are more powerful than you might think and you shouldn’t ignore them.
Taking a mental health day is underrated, yet a necessity for your overall well being and feeling good. Now’s the time to take care of your emotional health – if not now, when?
That’s my take!
What things usually make you realize you need to take a mental health day? What markers do you use to asses your well being and emotional health?
Tom @ Dividends Diversify says
Back in my full-time work days, I would have scored 6 out of 10 on this list. Mental exhaustion, lack of interest in work, lack of creativity at work are some other symptoms I remember. It always took me more than a day to recover. Tom