Mental health days are an important part of self-care. They can help you recharge your batteries and come back to work feeling refreshed.
Many people are hesitant to take a mental health day from work because sadly mental health is still not given as much importance as physical health. But working through crippling anxiety, overwhelm or burnout can have devasting long-term effects, so it’s vital to look after your mental health and take a break when you need one.
However, it’s important to recognise when you need a mental health day and use it wisely, rather than just taking random time off for the sake of it. In this blog post, we will discuss the 5 key signs that you need to take a mental health day from work!
1. You’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed out.
If you feel like you can’t cope with your workload, then it’s time to take a mental health day. Stress can have a negative impact on both your mental and physical health, so it’s important to take some time for yourself.
Many people are reluctant to take a mental health day because they see it as a sign of weakness. In fact, it’s the opposite! Taking a mental health day shows that you’re taking care of yourself and your mental health. Burnout is a very real affliction and it will affect you, your company and your colleagues much worse than a single day off would.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, it’s important to talk to your boss. They may be able to lighten your workload or give you some extra support. There could be a simple solution that your boss could identify, such as some extra training or restructuring your workflow. However, if you feel like you can’t cope, then it’s time to take a mental health day.
2. You’re not sleeping well.
If you’re struggling to get a good night’s sleep, then this is another sign that you need to take a break. Poor sleep can lead to fatigue and stress, which will only make things worse.
There are a few things you can do to try and improve your sleep, such as avoiding caffeine in the afternoon, winding down before bed with a relaxing activity and making sure your bedroom is dark and quiet.
However, sometimes no matter how hard you try, you just can’t get a good night’s sleep. Work stress is often the root cause of this. It can be so hard to switch off when we work long hours, and then we get into a vicious cycle of using caffeine and other stimulants to cope with our tiredness, which in turn makes us too wired to sleep the next night.
In this case, it often makes sense to take a short break from work and prioritise your sleep for a while. Take the opportunity to cut out stimulants, get out in nature and reset your body clock.
3. You’re not eating well.
When you’re feeling stressed, it’s common to lose interest in food. However, this is not good for your mental or physical health. Make sure to eat healthy foods that will help boost your mood.
It’s also important to stay hydrated. When we’re stressed, our bodies produce the hormone cortisol. This can lead to dehydration, which can make us feel even more tired and stressed out. Drink plenty of water and avoid sugary drinks, alcohol and caffeine.
If you’re struggling to eat well or stay hydrated this can sometimes be a sign that work is getting too much and you need to refocus on your mental health. Consider whether a mental health day from work could help you reset.
4. You’re isolating yourself from friends and family.
Withdrawing from the people that you care about is another common sign that your mental health is suffering. When we’re stressed, it can be difficult to muster up the energy to see friends and family. We may start cancelling plans or making excuses not to see people.
It’s important to try and maintain social contact when you’re feeling stressed as this can help boost your mood and give you a much-needed sense of support. If you’re finding it hard to see people, then try and find other ways to stay connected, such as video-calling or chatting online.
If you’ve been isolating yourself from friends and family, it may be a sign that you need some time off work to focus on your mental health, so take some time for yourself and recharge.
5. You’re feeling down or anxious most of the time.
If you’re experiencing negative thoughts or feelings on a regular basis, then it’s time to seek professional help. Depression and anxiety can be debilitating if left untreated, so don’t hesitate to get help from a therapist or counsellor. You should prioritise these mental health conditions in the same way you would prioritise a serious physical ailment, so take time off work if you need it and focus on getting better.
These are just a few of the key signs that you might need to take some time off work to focus on your mental health. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you’re struggling. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health, so make sure to look after yourself!