Remember the post that went viral a couple of years ago about a boss' positive response when his employee asked for a mental health day? Well, one would think that after two years, similar situations wouldn't even be up for discussion and would be more acceptable. However, a lot of people are still put off by the idea of a mental health day, as well as people who request for one. This is despite endless discussions of how one's mental health can truly toll on a person's entire wellbeing.
Well, we're here to tell you that we've got your back! In commemoration of Mental Health Awareness month, here are the reasons why you shouldn't feel bad about taking a mental health day — and why people shouldn't judge you about it either.
You get to re-evaluate your current situation
Many will argue that weekends are there to serve as our life vest from drowning in daily monotony. But sometimes, even our 'free days' are stacked with roles we have to fulfil outside of work that we don't have time to actually rest. Because of this, we run out of fresh and creative ideas for whatever it is that we do, resulting in robotic and mediocre results.
So taking a mental health day dedicated to re-centring yourself is totally understandable. The first step is to trust your teammates enough to help you take over the day during your absence. Next is to completely let go of emails, calendar invites, or even social media prompts and set your goals for the day elsewhere. This way, you take yourself out of the equation, giving you a better view of the good and bad things about your daily affairs and how you face them. This leaves more room to address what needs to be taken care of and to keep what is clearly working.
It allows you to acknowledge your thoughts and emotions
We all show different faces for varying situations in our lives. But since vulnerabilities are not exactly easily welcomed, we tend to suppress our stronger emotions, leaving them to burst when we're at our limit. This rings true even for those who are extremely high-functioning individuals.
Taking a mental health day allows us to assess our own thoughts, emotions, and struggles in our chosen method. It is a day where we don't have to put up a facade for others but rather be honest with ourselves. This importance lies in the fact that we can never address our own fragility and pain if we don't stop and actually face them head-on.
It reminds you of your potential
'Adulting' often challenges us to make compromises. And sometimes, it calls for our hobbies, passions, and dreams to take a backseat. This is why we're telling you that taking a mental health day can serve as a key to set your heart ablaze once more on things you actually love doing. Sure, it doesn't immediately make you a photographer, a painter or a gymnast within 24 hours. But just having a day when you're not too busy thinking about your adult responsibilities serves as a great reminder that you have great potential. It helps remind you of skills or ideas that might have been lost in the wind a long time ago.
Healthy mind, healthy body
The state of your mental health manifests on your physiology no matter how hard you try to hide it. Yes, we're looking at those eye bags, breakouts and even your posture. So even if we call it a 'mental health day', it definitely serves a bigger and more holistic purpose. Just like the health benefits of travelling, giving your mind time to relax and refresh also translates throughout your body and vice versa. Your system is made up of interconnected nerves and cells that are in-charge with both your thoughts and actions and taking care of one definitely affects how you function on the other.
Your mental health is just as valid as a fever or other physically manifesting ailments
One of our fears about taking a day off dedicated to our mental health is that of being judged. After all, even with all the positive movements on the matter, there is still a lot of stigma surrounding mental health. It also doesn't help that some people only use mental health to create a pool of excuses to justify underperformance and mediocrity. This makes people look at it as petty, attention-seeking, and a means to defend poor behaviour.
However, in reality, those who struggle with mental health are usually the ones who overperform. This is because a full schedule often means lesser time to be alone with their thoughts, making it easier not to entertain their inner demons. But there are days when things are just too much to handle and to cover up. This is when we have to remind ourselves that taking time to sort out your mental health is just as important as nursing a fever or a cough. The brain is an organ and it can get sick much like your liver or your lungs. So go ahead and take a mental health day and never be ashamed of it.