Taking time off from work isn’t always easy to justify. You’re not alone if you feel that way. According to surveys, most American workers no longer use all their allotted vacation time each year. They often feel they’re too busy to get away.
This is an understandable impulse. However, it’s not a recipe for long-term success. You simply need to take a break from time to time in order to prevent burnout.
That doesn’t always have to involve going on a vacation. Sometimes, a mental health day is enough to keep stress from getting out of hand. If you feel uncomfortable with the idea of taking the occasional day off to address your own needs, consider the following points.
You May Actually Need It
Experts point out that the stigma against mental health days is linked to the way in which we talk about illness in the context of work. Many employees naturally assume they should only take off if an illness is contagious, or has a clear and undeniable impact on their ability to perform on the job.
What people forget is that mental health conditions are also genuine wellness issues. Stress, depression, and anxiety may not be contagious, but they can absolutely prevent someone from working to the best of their ability. When you look at the topic from this perspective, you realize that mental health days are just as valid as any other sick days.
They might even give you a chance to learn about your own wellness needs. When you have a busy lifestyle, you may not always notice if you’re feeling stressed or depressed. Taking time off to focus on yourself helps you reconnect with your feelings and learn whether you’re struggling with a condition you’ve overlooked.
Mental Health Days Improve Performance
Working long hours is one of the main causes of stress. That’s essentially why people need mental health days. If you’re overworked, taking a day off gives you the opportunity to breathe again. This naturally helps to reduce stress levels.
Of course, one of the main reasons people don’t take mental health days is fear that doing so will make them “look bad” in the eyes of their employer. No one wants to come across as weak because they needed time off to relax.
Luckily, that’s not something you should worry about. Stress can have a negative impact on work performance, so taking a mental health day to address it is therefore key to doing right by your employer. You’ll be a stronger member of the team if you’re not burdened by stress.
This is also something employers need to keep in mind. In a competitive industry, the temptation to run the kind of organization that prioritizes hard work is understandable. That said, research has shown that companies where employees are provided with a greater degree of flexibility tend to be more productive than others in the long run.
These are all reasons mental health days are crucial. Once you adopt the mindset that breaks are not only acceptable, but commendable, you (and everyone who relies on you!) will benefit as a result.