What is a mental health day?
A mental health day is a day that doesn’t involve engaging with major sources of stress or frustration. It’s a day to relax, decompress and take care of yourself overall. If you notice that you’re easily agitated, physically or mentally exhausted, anxious or unable to focus, you could use a mental health day.
Signs that you need to take a mental health day
Sure, there are plenty of physical signs of burnout, but many clues also come from your emotional state. One of the biggest roles in preventing burnout is being insightful and honest about how you’re feeling.
Signs of burnout can include:
- Irritability and a quick temper.
- Withdrawal from things that used to be fun and meaningful.
- Constantly feeling anxious.
- Feeling detached from both work and others.
- Lack of motivation or focus.
- Feeling exhausted.
- Not taking care of yourself physically or emotionally.
- Feeling sick.
If you’re entering burnout territory, the next question to ask yourself is, “What do I need?” Do you need rest? Do you need a change of scenery? Do you need time alone or one-on-one time with your spouse or significant other? Or maybe you’ve been feeling so overwhelmed the past couple of weeks that you just need to have a little fun. Be sure to consult a primary care provider if you feel like your mental health is struggling. The Providers at Pandya Medical Center are here for all of your health needs. Mental health is just as important as your physical health.
How to take a mental health day
Each person has a different and unique burnout cycle. The challenge is figuring out when you need to take action to prevent it and what you need to do to recharge.
Pay attention and be insightful about your mental health, figure out when during the year you’re most prone to burnout. For example, “I feel burnout about every four months, and so I am proactive about scheduling a day off when I hit that time period.”
Do you have a big project coming up at work? Are you racing to make a deadline? If you have a good idea about what’s coming up, start strategizing and scheduling some days to focus on yourself. Furthermore, make sure you do not over-commit or over-schedule yourself during that time for other things.
Preventing burnout is key. Don’t keep putting yourself on the back burner until it’s too late.
Things you can do during a mental health day
For most people, a mental health day should be a true 24-hours. But everyone is different in the aspect of what recharges and rejuvenates them. For those who haven’t reached burnout yet and are simply working to prevent it, an hour-long walk in the woods might be exactly what they need. Self-care can be whatever you want it to be. Here are a few examples of what you could do during your mental health day.
- Run errands or schedule appointments
- Go to yoga or a spa
- Play golf or your favorite sport
- Meditate for just 10 minutes
- Meet a friend for breakfast
- Stay home and watch your favorite shows
- Go fishing or hiking
- Take a bath
- Listen to music
- Work on an art project
- Clean the house if it makes you happy
- Curl up with a book and read
- Go to a baseball game
- Sleep in
- Exercise if you enjoy working out
- Do some gardening
It’s about shutting down that sympathetic nervous system response (that’s what governs your ‘fight or flight response) and doing something that makes you feel most grounded and in control.
What to do on your Mental Health Day:
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