Let’s talk about 2022 energy: ‘I make my own space.’ This, to me, is the perfect summation of the attitude we are bringing into the new year. This, to me, is knowing yourself, taking care of yourself, and knowing your worth. You are your own most prominent advocate, and no one will treat you as well as you treat yourself. This concept bleeds into many aspects of your life, including your professional life.
Doing good work combines a dedication to growing your craft, working extremely hard, and having a healthy work-life balance. Even the hardest working people need to dedicate time to recharge.
What is a mental health day?
A mental health day is a personal day where you focus on recharging your batteries depending on what kind of care you need to create a day of winding down. For example, if work has been super chaotic and you feel as though you are burning out, taking a mental health day on a Friday gives you three full days to relinquish the stress you feel. The critical thing to remember is that everyone has different versions of what a recharge day looks like, but ultimately you want it to be effective.
Here are a few things an effective mental health day can do for you:
- Relax and Destress
- Realign your emotions
- Reset perspective
- Reevaluate life
Why is it important?
In general, when we aren’t feeling well, we tend to deteriorate. We, as people, which is why much growing up is figuring out a routine and how to stay healthy. One will start to feel burned out, which bleeds into every aspect of one’s life: causing strain in relationships, declining work quality and ethics, and increasing self-harming negative emotions. Being in tune with your body and not judging how you feel will help you identify these burn-out signs.
You can start to feel off at any time, whether it be a physiological occurrence (hello mother nature, right ladies?) or when you feel overworked. There isn’t a correct answer to feeling burned out; it is just a matter of identifying and resetting yourself. By confronting the ‘off’ feeling, you can get rid of it successfully instead of simply ignoring it and pushing through, which only perpetuates the feeling and prolongs your suffering through it. There is no point in doing this because it proves nothing about your character and ultimately creates dire consequences in all other aspects of your life.
You can also distinguish between simply feeling tired and feeling indeed burned out by dealing with this feeling. Ultimately knowing and figuring out how best to help yourself will lead to long-term happiness.
How do you take mental health days?
Taking a mental health day is meant to be a personal experience and adjusted to whatever type of burnout you may be feeling in your life. Here are three easy steps to planning a mental health day:
Identify what you need
Identifying what kind of burn-out you are dealing with can help guide you to an effective mental health day. For example, if you are feeling stressed out, maybe don’t try and reorganize your basement. However, if you are feeling depressed, accomplishing a task would help pull you forward!
What you could be feeling and what could help:
- Exhausted: you need a rest day, cool down at home, and do nothing but indulge in yourself
- High-strung: you need a day to blow off steam, go to a theme park close by, take a dance class, plan to see a sports game, do what you’ve always wanted to do.
- Not like yourself: hello spa day! Get a massage, get your nails done, get your hair cut, AND take yourself to lunch. No, I did not mean to say ‘or’ I said AND because you deserve all that. Get back to feeling you.
- Isolated: Invite people over for a board game and dinner night. Order pizza, watch a movie, go on a date, go out with your
Find what best suits your need.
Figuring out how you feel first will help you determine what you can do to help yourself, too! Remember that while treating yourself now and again is a beautiful thing, we might need mental health days more than we can afford to go all out. Also, depending on your comfort zone and level of burnout, you may need to find an alternative to a method you were recommended.
Things to keep in mind when planning to take a mental health day:
- How much time off do you have?
- Do you have any obligations or commitments?
- Are you introverted or extraverted?
- What do you like to do? What have you always wanted to do?
Take a day or two off.
I did put this last intentionally. As I mentioned above, there are no right ways to take a mental health day. The name itself is honestly misleading because there isn’t a time constraint. If you feel that you need to blow off some steam and head to a theme park, plan out your trip and get a reasonable rate, then tell them you will be taking time off. But, if that doesn’t suit your lifestyle and burnout, then maybe you only need to take a few hours to get your nails done or get a massage so that you can take a half-day or a late start.
Most modern companies will usually have a set allotment of mental health days aside from sick and vacation days, so be sure to check with your contract or HR. If you are still in school, plan with your teachers to get the work you will miss to avoid falling behind. Also, if you can, talk to your parents about it, be honest about the way you are feeling, and maybe include them in your plans. Again, make sure that logistics don’t stand in your way of taking care of yourself, be aware and cautious of your limits, and commit to taking time for yourself.
Upkey and Mental Health Days
Mental health days are more important than ever when you are planning on building your future. By acknowledging when you need help, identifying what you are feeling, and making sure to prioritize yourself you are building sustainable habbits that will carry through life. Don’t let fear or feeling illequipt stand in the way of making your dreams come true.
If you are looking for a place to start with your career goals sign up for our Career Creation Course. It is a great library filled with advice and answers about entering the job market. If you have a career in mind and are looking for an internship, head over to our Job portal and get customized option results. Before you apply, stop by our Resume Scorer and make sure that your application will be seen by recruiters. As always, if you are looking for more advice, answers, and assistance, head to Career In Progress, where I try to address all the burning topics.