I think we can all agree that a lot of people can easily call off when they don’t feel well. But there’s a bit of stigma when it comes to calling off for mental health reasons, hence, we just shrug it off.
What I tell my clients and their employers is the fact that if you can consistently, I’m not saying every week but every once in a while celebrate a mental health day. It helps prevent the need for sudden call-offs or longer time off because you will come back mentally stronger and able to do your job more effectively.
Have you tried working without rest that made you feel stressed and end up catching a cold as well as headache, fatigue, or irritability? If yes, that is burnout.
When we reach burnout, our minds and bodies will demand time off in their own way and manifest itself in physical illness.
I strongly believe that it is essential to take a mental health day as normal prevention of any type of emotional imbalance. Our mental health is as important as our physical health which means taking a time to celebrate a mental health day can be essential to long-term wellness and can also help us prevent mental health problems.
However, there are a lot of reasons why it could be difficult asking for a mental health day. The first that comes to mind is that there remains a stigma when it comes to mental health. Although we have seen improvement, many people and organizations still don’t believe mental health is a priority when it comes to time off. They do not support mental-emotional wellness instead, reward working long hours that could result in burnout.
Many people also worry that they will somehow be punished or looked down upon by co-workers or management if they admit to needing, wanting, or desiring time off to take care of themselves mentally.
Finally, we, as a culture, value “sucking it up,” and maintaining a “stiff upper lip,” and “only the strong survive.” We’re not encouraged to show emotions particularly when we’re burned out. That is why asking for a mental health day has been viewed as a sign of weakness.
Nevertheless, learning that you might prevent burnout and even stave off physical illnesses because you are attending to your mental-emotional health is beneficial to you and the whole organization.
Every workplace has a different culture, and that some are not open to this. But at the end of the day your mental health is a private matter and can be shared with some discretion. There are privacy laws in place for this reason, so someone is not discriminated against because of a mental health issue.
Our current standard for mental health includes a lot of focus on treating mental illness, I am an advocate for modern mental health where everyone takes it as seriously as their physical health where therapy, coaching, or time off is as widely accepted as going to the gym or eating better.
You can celebrate a mental health day by taking some time to rest, recuperate, do fun activities or even just treating yourself on a date. I will say too, that if you do take a mental health day make sure that you actually do something for your mental health and well-being.
Create that standard today with your own mental health by taking some time to attend to it. Perhaps you can model a new trend of taking care of your mental health and inspire someone else to do the same, so we all raise the standard for mental health.
If you need a coach to guide you how to celebrate a mental health day, I would love to help. You can schedule a sacred hour with me here so we can connect and chat about how I can help.
Happy weekend everyone! Always remember to take care of your mental health as much as you take care of your physical well-being.
Mind Your Strength,
Melanie Shmois, MSSA, LISW-S, is a licensed social worker, holding a Master’s Degree (MSSA) from Case Western Reserve University and a B.A. in Sociology with a minor in Spanish. After spending 2 decades helping others achieve their mental and personal goals, Melanie worked with Master Coach Instructor, Brooke Castillo, and became a certified Life and Weight Coach through the Life Coach School.