Why You Should Take The Occasional Mental Health Day

You don’t have to be coughing up a lung to deserve a day off
You don’t have to be coughing up a lung to deserve a day off

Sick days mean something different to everyone. While some people would have to be practically on their death beds unable to function to call in sick, others consider a case of the sniffles a good reason to take a day off. Naturally, if you get paid sick days at your job, you’re a lot more likely to use them when you aren’t feeling well than someone who would be taking a hit on their next pay cheque. Even though taking a sick day usually implies physical illness of some kind, your mental health deserves just as much attention and care as your physical health does. When you’re feeling the stress start to build up and all you want is a day away from the grind, you should take it. Here’s why:

Prevention is the way to go
Usually by the time you’re taking a sick day, you’re laid up in bed with a full on bug. Instead, if you take a break once in awhile to catch up on sleep, relax and take care of a few things on your personal to-do list, you might not get sick in the first place. Stress can have a negative effect on your immune system making you more susceptible to germs, but if you do a few things to take a little pressure off once in awhile, you might notice you get sick less often. Your immune system will be stronger and better able to fight off any bugs you might pick up along the way.

Stress will affect your creativity
Stress takes a toll on not only your immune system but also your memory, concentration, productivity and creativity. All those things are most likely pretty important for your day to day deliverables at work. While it may be true that you often work well under the pressure of a looming deadline, continuous unrelenting pressure is another story. After all, the fear of failure isn’t exactly inspiring. If you’re experiencing a creative block, obsessing over it won’t help. Instead, take a step back and give yourself a break. Looking at a project with a clear mind should help you see things in a completely different way.

You deserve to put yourself first once in awhile
At work, you’re doing what other people want you to do all day long. That means your own needs aren’t your top priority. You probably go to work when you’re not feeling 100% all the time and when someone asks for something last minute, you find a way to do it. Even though you’re perfectly capable of doing your job—and going the extra mile to do it well—it’s totally understandable to get burnt out after awhile which is what leads to feeling run down and getting sick. Try to remember that you don’t have to wait until you catch a cold to make your health a priority.

Disconnecting will help you recharge and reset
During the workweek, you’re constantly plugged into the internet, your email, your meeting schedule and the needs of your coworkers and/or clients. If you’re always on edge waiting to put out the next fire, when do you have a chance to sit back and catch your breath? If you take a mental health day, that means not checking your email and just pretending work doesn’t exist for a day. Spend your time catching up on errands, working on a personal project or visiting a friend you haven’t seen in awhile. Whatever helps you forget about work for a little while so you’ll be focused when you head back to the office the next day.

Courtney Hardwick

Courtney Hardwick

Courtney Hardwick is a freelance writer based in Toronto. Her work has appeared on AmongMen.com, 29secrets.com, therichest.com, and ELLECanada.com.  When she isn’t writing about relationships, and the best TV shows and books you should really already know about, she is working on her novel. She hopes to have it published by 2025. You can follow her on Twitter @Courtooo.

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