Is It OK To Take a Mental Health Day?

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It’s important to put your emotional health first. Interested in taking mental health days at work? Here’s how to do it.

Simone Biles is one of my favorite athletes who made headlines around the country recently. If you have not heard about this brave young woman, she is an Olympic athlete that chose to drop out of the competition to boost mental health. While reading Biles’ story, I began cheering her on because she did what so many of us are afraid to do in our normal daily lives. Her advice was not to let anyone tell you that taking a mental health day off work is a weakness. This is advice that I believe everyone needs to hear. Mental health self care is something that we all need to pay more attention to, especially now. The pandemic has taken a toll. In fact, stress from the pandemic has made making basic decisions difficult, according to a recent poll.

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Why It’s OK To Take Time for Your Mental Health

Unfortunately, Biles did receive disapproval from fans for putting her emotional health first. There is still a lot of misinformation and stigma surrounding mental illness. People are told to “just try to be happy” if they are depressed or to “stop worrying so much” when anxious. If you are someone with either of these illnesses, you know that it’s not so simple. These are real health conditions that require treatment, just like cancer. Many of these mental illnesses are chronic, as well. This means that they are often lifelong conditions that require ongoing treatment.

The good news is that companies are starting to recognize the importance of treating emotional health issues, and are enacting mental health days off work and other benefits to help. Nike recently announced that it would close its corporate offices for a week to give workers time to prioritize their mental health. It seems that the company has recognized the stress that the pandemic has placed on all of us.

How To Take a Mental Health Day

So, how do you actually take a mental health day?

Speak Up

Don’t be afraid to have a conversation with your boss about your need to take time off to see a therapist. Just like any other health condition, you don’t have to disclose everything about your health. It’s just like any other medical issue. Therefore, simply let your manager know that you have a medical appointment and would like some time off work for it.

Don’t Feel Embarrassed  

If you have ever felt afraid or embarrassed to ask for a mental health day off work, then you are not alone. This viral tweet got tons of comments from people who said that they felt embarrassed or ashamed to take a day off for mental health reasons. Banish guilt. It is OK to take care of your mental health.

How To Practice Mental Health Self Care on Your Day Off

Mental health self care

While taking a mental health day off work can be helpful. But, it’s important to actively practice good mental health self care when you do take that time. Here are some of the best, most useful ways that I know to boost mental health. These can provide a powerful reset when you need one.

  • Practice meditation and other relaxation techniques. It’s important to take the time to focus on your mental well-being. That’s exactly what meditation allows you to do.
  • Try sleep yoga. Good sleep is vitally important for overall wellness. Therefore, it’s vital to practice great sleep self-care. Try this yoga routine for better sleep. It’s easy and only takes about 10 minutes to do.
  • Stay active. Physical activity has been proven to help emotional health. Your physical and emotional health are connected. That’s why it’s important to care for both. 

Final Thoughts 

At the end of the day, your overall health is extremely important. It’s vital to practice mental health self care too. Don’t be afraid to speak up if you need to take some time off work for emotional self care.

Just remember that the above advice and tips aren’t a replacement for therapy. Most importantly, if you think you may be in need of mental health care, seek it. Can’t see a therapist at their office? Consider online therapy. It can be just as effective as in-person. Online therapy can make the process of finding a therapist easier by providing you with access to a greater number of licensed professionals you can pick from. In many cases, insurance will cover the cost, as well.

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