Truly Legit Reasons to Take a Mental Health Day
Everyone needs a short break away from work once in a while. There are multiple reasons to take a mental health day. Whether it’s because of more job responsibilities, an overbearing boss, or a loss of passion, you don’t have to feel guilty for taking care of yourself. In fact, not doing so can lead to bigger problems down the road.
Some top legit reasons to take a mental health day include feeling burned out at work and physically worn out. You may also notice you’re developing an unhealthy obsession about what others think about you and your work performance.
To take a mental health day, you can preplan vacation days with your supervisor. Or, you can call in and use sick time. In either case, you don’t have to reveal you’re taking a mental health day. However, some bosses and companies completely understand and encourage this.
Let’s look at some of the legit reasons to take a mental health day in more detail.
You’re Physically Exhausted
Are you finding it harder to get out of bed for work each day? If you’re physically exhausted or becoming sick more often, you should take a mental health day. Feeling tired all the time despite eight hours of sleep and proper nutrition is a warning sign.
Over time, job stress and dissatisfaction can start to manifest in your body. Coming down with colds and other viruses more frequently is a sign your immune system is run down. It’s not as strong as it used to be.
Prolonged stress weakens the immune system, makes it more difficult to get restful sleep, and leads to other symptoms. These include an upset stomach, headaches, and body aches. Taking a mental health day can be what you need to refocus and get yourself back on track.
A mental health day also gives you time to reevaluate your work situation. Maybe you’re headed for burnout or already there. This is a warning sign you need to make some changes. That may mean taking FLMA leave, asking for a transfer, going on sabbatical, or looking for another job.
You’re Irritable at Nearly Everything and Everyone
One of the legit reasons to take a mental health day is you’re growing increasingly irritable at everyone and everything. You could be growing upset at things at work that you’d normally brush off. People’s requests and demands could also be getting to you.
If you find yourself wanting to or actually responding in anger, you need a break. It could be that the mental demands of the job are too much. Or, you could need more support at work. This might include training, additional staff and backup, or a shift in responsibilities.
In the meantime, a day or two off will help you get away from the sources of your irritation. It could be that you just need to clear your head. Or, you need to rest and focus on yourself. When you return, check yourself to see if you’re becoming easily irritated again.
If this is the case, dig deeper to find out why. You may need to approach your boss about restructuring your position or getting extra support. It’s also possible you need to reduce your stress levels, at and outside of work.
You Feel Overwhelmed (One of the Main Reasons to Take a Mental Health Day)
People feel overwhelmed when they’re faced with more than they believe they can handle. Sometimes that’s because they don’t have the resources. Other times, it’s because a job is not a good fit or it’s more stress and pressure than they’re wired for.
For instance, highly sensitive people are individuals with a more sensitive nervous system. This means they process stimulation and environmental cues more deeply. They also become overwhelmed and overstimulated faster when around bright lights and loud noises.
High-pressure and fast-paced work environments are not the optimal place for these individuals to be. While some highly sensitive people learn to cope with them, they’re more physically and mentally draining.
And when individuals feel drained and overwhelmed, they can’t perform at their best. Taking a mental health day can recharge their batteries so they can perform. Of course, sometimes asking for a permanent reassignment or finding a more suitable environment is necessary.
You Have More Bad Days than Good Days
Work isn’t necessarily supposed to be a breeze. But you shouldn’t dread going into the office each day and face unsurmountable problem after problem. Yes, you’re going to have some challenges and days where nothing seems to go right.
However, you should also have some days where things go well. You should also have some coworkers you can talk to and confide in. Most people have days in the office that feel productive and even fun and enjoyable.
So, if you’re having one dumpster fire of a day after another, it’s time for a mental health day. Too many bad days in a row can discourage and demotivate the most dedicated of employees. Take some time to recoup and spend the day treating yourself.
Maybe that means a day camped out in front of the TV or a series of spa treatments. Perhaps you take a staycation trip to a nearby town or resort. Whatever suits your fancy and will help you destress. If you don’t, you’ll overwhelm yourself and become more irritable.
You’ve Lost Your Passion (take a mental health day to recoup)
When you stop caring about your job, the company, or your performance, you need some time off. A mental health day may be all you need to get a fresh outlook on your job. However, you might also be overdue for a vacation or a career change.
It’s not uncommon for people to question what they’re doing, especially after several years in a position or industry. But if you can’t seem to motivate yourself to do the work or you feel like you’re just going through the motions, this could be a sign.
You could be overtaxed mentally, physically, or both. Sometimes taking a mental health day helps you think about what direction you’re going in your career and work. You might want to try something completely different.
Or, maybe you want to make some tweaks to your professional life. For example, you might want to stay in the IT industry. But you no longer want to manage people and want to go into cybersecurity. A mental health day can help you map out a realistic game plan.
You Feel You’re Being Taken Advantage Of
Nearly everyone wants some form of recognition for what they do at work. Whether that’s public or private praise, feeling appreciated is vital to a healthy workplace. However, there are instances where you may feel unappreciated and used at the office.
Increasing responsibilities and demands without a raise and broken promises from leadership are some examples. Others include being bullied, harassed, or reassigned without your input or any explanation.
A few of these scenarios often call for legal and HR intervention. That said, most people will look for another job if they’re facing bullying or abuse. But in less severe cases, it may take a talk with your team or manager to correct and change the situation.
Taking a mental health day gives you time to think through what you need to say. You’re away from the environment that makes you feel unappreciated while you work out a plan. Write down why you feel taken advantage of and what you’d like to see change.
You Need to Care for a Family Member or Friend
No one is exempt from responsibilities once they leave work for the day. We all have personal obligations and tasks to complete. Some of those could include caring for an aging parent, a disabled relative, or a friend that needs a little extra help.
Performing these duties on top of a job can be overwhelming sometimes. You might need a mental health day to make sure everything gets done. Some people also need a day off from both their professional and personal responsibilities to care for themselves.
In these cases, you have a legitimate reason for taking sick time. Even if you schedule it beforehand, many organizations recognize the need to use sick days to care for relatives. In some states, like Colorado, it’s the law to provide employees with a certain number of sick days.
Don’t be afraid to use this time when you need to. You don’t need to tell your supervisor why you’re taking it. Simply say you have a medical appointment or you’re not feeling well if you call in the same day.
Final Thoughts on Reasons to Take a Mental Health Day
There are many legit reasons to take a mental health day. If you’re feeling run down, overtaxed, or unappreciated, schedule some time off for yourself. Ignoring the problem will only make it worse and could lead to the development of anxiety and depression.
If you think you might already have anxiety or depression, make an appointment with a licensed professional as soon as possible. Victims of workplace bullying, especially, need expert support and someone to talk to. You can’t do your job if your mental health isn’t thriving.