09 Jul Is it ok to take a Mental Health Day?
Today, it’s still true that our mental health is still not an obvious or as overt consideration as our physical health, when it comes to taking time off work or school. Yet our state of mental health has a HUGE contribution on how we feel, behave and exist in our daily lives.
It’s a well known fact that stress, anxiety and depression are major issues in today’s fast paced lifestyles and sometimes you can arrive at a point where you’re just not in the ‘right place’, mentally, to perform in your work environment or place of education.
Think about it like this… if you were full of cold, had a migraine, felt sick or had a high temperature, you’d take a sick day, right? That’s perfectly acceptable isn’t it?
But, is it OK to take a ‘Mental Health Day’ if your symptoms are those relating to mental health issues, as opposed to physical issues? There’s certainly no easy marker, yardstick or symptom to missing a day at work through mental health issues, like there is with any physical illness.
After all, poor mental health isn’t contagious is it, so why would you need a day off – it’s not like you are going to pass your symptoms on to someone!
In fact, even if it gets noticed that you’re not quite yourself or seem a bit different, many of your colleagues could even dismiss such symptoms saying that you’re just ‘out of sorts’ or ‘having a hard time’, but that you’ll ‘soldier on’ and ‘bounce back’.
Sadly, poor mental health can cause far-reaching damage to someone’s performance in a given situation and it’s often out of an individual’s control to simply ‘get over’ the issues being faced.
Poor mental health doesn’t just go away if you try to ignore it; in fact, it often only gets worse. However, the power of a day’s sleep or just the chance to relax and rationalise things could be worth its weight in gold!
What’s more, a Mental Health Day could be the difference to helping you cope better and function more normally with episodes of stress and anxiety that is currently consuming your life.
Taking a Mental Health day break from the rigours of normality helps you to concentrate on YOU for a day, so be sure to take that opportunity to distress and refocus yourself before you even contemplate diving back in the next day.
Once you’ve established that you need to take a Mental Health Day, it’s then knowing how to go about asking for one. In reality, sadly, most people will still use a physical excuse to take a day off, such as sickness, cold/flu or maybe back pain.
However, actually opening dialogue with your employer, either by approaching management or HR about your mental health issues, could be a giant step to them better understanding your needs.
Obviously, even in today’s much more open society, when it comes to discussing mental health, taking the step to proactively discuss it with your employers is probably still a judgment call for many people to make.
Having said that, remember that there is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of by admitting and talking about mental health issues and that mental health days exist for a reason…
And that’s why we say it’s absolutely okay to take a Mental Health Day!