Should you take a mental health day?

Understanding what a mental health day is, what it’s not, and when it’s a good idea to take one.
Illustration of worker taking a break next to large alarm clock

Do you need a mental health day? Sometimes the stresses of life spill over into our work, or workplace pressure can begin to affect our mental well-being. During times like these, a mental health day can be a useful tool to care for ourselves. 

Village Therapist Signe Miller shares information about how mental health days can be beneficial and how workplaces can support their staff.

What is a mental health day?

We all have mental health. Along with our physical, spiritual, social, and financial wellness, it is one component that contributes to overall well-being. Just like we might have physical ailments, we may struggle with our mental well-being, and a day dedicated to re-energizing can help. A mental health day is a day taken to address mental health concerns, often proactively to ensure these issues do not worsen.

When should you take a mental health day?

It depends on the individual, but generally speaking, it may be a good idea to take a mental health day if: 

  • You are feeling more easily overwhelmed.
  • You are having difficulty getting to work on time.
  • Your attitude has changed.
  • You are turning to unhealthy coping mechanisms.

Individuals should strive to have an internal awareness of when they need a day to take care of themselves before they reach a crisis point. It’s important to check in with yourself regularly to see how you’re doing. 

What should you do on a mental health day?

A mental health day is NOT a day spent running errands or doing things for other people. Rather, it is time spent taking care of yourself. This is often referred to as self-care. It may include rest, spending time outdoors, or journaling. Mental health days should be spent filling your emotional bucket so you can go back to work the next day refreshed and ready to perform well.

A letter sign is surrounded by electronic devices and reads Relax Refresh Recharge

How can I take care of my mental health if I can’t take a full day?

There are many little things we can do every day that are beneficial to our mental health! For example, you could take a walk, drink a glass of water, eat a nutritious snack, spend time with a friend, or watch a funny video clip. Everyone re-energizes in different ways. Be intentional about listening to what your body and mind need and what activities will refill your bucket.

Does my company offer mental health days?

Some companies may offer specific mental health days. If not, employers may provide paid time off (PTO), vacation days, or personal time that can be used to take care of mental health needs. Ask your supervisor or HR department what options are available to you.

How else can workplaces support mental health?

Many companies offer an Employee Assistance Program, such as The Village EAP, as a benefit to their employees. Through The Village EAP, employees and their household members receive free access to short-term, wellness-based counseling sessions, as well as other services such as financial counseling, legal consultation, and health risk assessments.

The Village EAP

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