January is in full swing, and likely you have scheduled all the necessary appointments you might need as the new year unfolds. From doctors visits, to dental appointments, and even your vacations. But have you thought about taking any Mental Health days?
Mental health days are now sometimes included in our benefits packages, but do we ever take advantage of them? There is a certain stigma involved with the term “mental health’’ let alone actually taking time off from work to focus on it. Americans often view mental health as a weakness, or as something to keep hidden and private. But according to APA, almost half of Americans suffer from depression and anxiety, and could seriously benefit from mental health days.
Our mental health can affect us in many different ways especially at work. We can be unfocused, irritable, exhausted, and much more. Our physical health is also affected by our mental and emotional health, making chronic pain much more prevalent.
The stress we feel at work can take a toll on our performance, on our relationship with coworkers, and our ability to value our position in our company. When employees are happy, the company benefits. When employees are unhappy, there is much more turn over and people don’t do their best work.
The best way to start implementing mental health days in the work atmosphere, is to normalize it. To talk about what mental health means, and why it is important. When taking a day for yourself, to reset mentally, to take a moment to breathe, what should you do?
Amy Morin wrote an article for Psychology Today that has some great insight into taking Mental Health days. Take some time to reflect on what is going on in your life, both at work and at home. Write in a journal, think about what stresses are in your life that can be removed or decreased. Take time to relax, and focus on your sleep. So many of us don’t get enough sleep, or enough quality sleep, that simply taking time to rest can make such difference when you go back to work. Does your work offer mental health days? What did you focus on during your time off?