Do You Need a Mental Health Day from Work?
Blog / Individual Counseling
Never underestimate the value of a mental health day. Many employees provide paid mental health days in addition to sick days because they want their workers to take a break as needed. Financial stress, overtime, and long hours in the office can quickly push you to your breaking point. We want to prevent that from happening. Let’s take a look at some signs you may need a mental health day from work.
You Don’t Feel Productive
This is one of the first signs you need a mental health day. No matter how long you stare at the computer or move through the assembly line, you just don’t feel like you’re getting anything done. Productivity is a byproduct of mental health. When your stress is low, your mind can process day-to-day tasks with ease. If it’s distracted by stress, your efficiency is going to suffer. Taking a mental health day could give you the reboot you need to get through work.
Small Tasks Create Huge Stress
Do you feel like your daily to-do list is 10 feet long? That may be because of your perception. When you’re overstressed, small tasks feel like big challenges. This can also cause you to lash out over small problems, like unwashed dishes in the sink or a messed-up order at a restaurant. Your brain is already at maximum capacity, so that one extra element feels like a boulder instead of a pebble. A mental health day can help you clear your mind so you can see how achievable each task actually is.
You Haven’t Processed a Major Life Event
You may need time to process the thoughts and emotions associated with a life transition, like getting a new apartment or ending a long-term relationship. These are the times when mental health days matter. If you need a few days to work out the kinks, don’t be afraid to ask for them.
Note that if you need time off due to the death of a loved one, your employer may have a separate policy for bereavement days. These will not count against your mental health days.
Your Physical Health Is Declining
Issues with your mental health can cause problems with your physical health. You may have issues using the restroom, or you may stop eating because of stress. Most people have difficulty sleeping when they feel overworked, which heightens depression, anxiety and irritability. Listen to your body. It’s telling you to slow down and take a break. Use that as a cue to consider a mental health day.
How to Ask for a Mental Health Day
Each employer has its own process for approving mental health days. You may need to give a two week notice, or you may only need a 24-hour notice. If your employer does not offer paid mental health days, you may need to plan around your finances. You can still request an excused day off, but you will not be paid for your time away from the office. Talk to your manager about your options and give yourself a day to recoup.
Choosing the Right Time for a Mental Health Day
In addition to the considerations above, try to plan a mental health day around your scheduled time off. For instance, if you’re scheduled to be off Friday and Saturday, plan your mental health day for Thursday or Sunday. This will give you a longer break to take care of personal tasks, relax, catch up on sleep, and enjoy your free time. If you need to see the doctor or schedule an appointment on your mental health day, make sure you choose a day that corresponds with office hours.
You may also consider talking to a therapist about stress in your work life or personal life. A mental health provider can teach you how to cope with stress on a daily basis so you can feel more accomplished and productive at work. Contact Sherman Counseling in Green Bay, Appleton, or Oshkosh, WI to schedule an appointment with a therapist near you.