The importance of looking after our mental health has really come to light in recent years. With more people speaking up about the way that they feel, the stigma is beginning to be lifted which is a good thing for all of us. Almost a quarter of people will be affected by a mental health issue each year, and so it’s clear how big the problem is. Having the ability to take a ‘mental health day’ as a sick day from work is becoming widely accepted, but it’s not just useful for those with diagnosed or ongoing mental health issues. It can also be helpful for those who are going through a bad time, suffering seasonally or just feel like they’re on the verge of burnout. It’s a chance to relax and unwind, not have to think about work- and generally provide respite on a day that you really need it. If you’re going to take a mental health day from school, college or work, here are some options for how you can make the most of your time.
If your mental health has caused you to feel unwell or tired, then it might make sense to spend the day in bed. You can rest, relax and doze to catch up on lost sleep. You could lie on the sofa and watch anime, read a book, play a game on your phone or enjoy a relaxing activity such as meditation coloring. When things are busy and chaotic, some time spent in the quiet (with no pressures of things to do) and time to clear your mind is just what you need to put you back on track.
In some cases, time spent in bed could actually make things worse- and on a mental health day you needn’t feel like you have to stay in your pajamas. In the case of anxiety for example, getting up and about might make you feel better. You could hit the gym or go for a long walk. You could visit a friend for a chat, or busy yourself with a fun task such as shopping. Whatever you think will take your mind off things for the day and make you feel better- go for it.
Mental health problems tend to go hand in hand with diet issues. Often, when you’re out of sorts you might eat too much or too little. So on your mental health day, make an effort to eat well. Eat foods that are nutritious and could give your mental health a boost. If you enjoy cooking, this is one way you could spend your time off.
It’s up to employers to take care of their employees health and safety, and this includes both their mental and physical wellbeing. There’s no legal difference between taking a mental health sick day and a day off for a physical problem; so if you feel stressed, overwhelmed, aren’t sleeping right or need time off to visit a health professional to discuss your mental wellbeing then do so. It’s not up to anyone to judge or measure how stressed you are, use your common sense and be sure to look after yourself.