We all have to deal with a certain amount of stress in our day-to-day lives. Most of us find ways to manage these stresses and pressures, but sometimes things are a little too much to handle.
If you reach a breaking point and start to feel like you’re too stressed and can’t unwind, it might be time to take a mental day to recharge.
What Is a Mental Day?
A mental day, also called a mental health day, is a scheduled day you take off from work to focus on your psychological well-being.
We all take days off work when we’re physically sick, but not many of us take days off to look after our mental well-being. That’s largely because we live in a culture in which psychological issues are still not as openly talked about as physical ailments.
There’s also a stubborn, push-through-the-stress attitude in most workplaces. Maybe your excuse is that you work in a competitive environment and don’t want to take time off, feel embarrassed about the reasoning, or failed to read the signs until now.
Whatever the reason, if you feel psychologically affected by stress, anxiety, or any other mental health issues, you should take a mental day to see if it helps.
6 Signs You Need to Take a Mental Day Off
Everyone reacts differently when they’re stressed or under a great deal of pressure.
However, here are some of the most common signs to look out for:
You Can See and Feel Your Anxiety Building Up
If you recognize that your anxiety levels are on the rise, taking a mental health day will help you do something about it before it becomes a serious problem.
Typical symptoms of anxiety include:
- Feeling light-headed, dizzy, or nauseous.
- Having headaches and/or general aches and pains.
- Accelerated breathing or sweating.
- Difficulty sleeping.
- Feeling tense, nervous, and uneasy.
- Excessively worrying and panicking.
- Accelerated heartbeat.
If you experience one or more of these symptoms on a more regular basis, it’s time to take a step back and address it.
You Find It Difficult to Concentrate and Focus
If you struggle to concentrate at work and focus on the tasks at hand, you’re probably starting to make mistakes or missing things. Taking a day off to recharge mentally means you can return to work and be a lot more productive.
You Aren’t Sleeping Well
Not getting a good night’s sleep on a regular basis is a huge red flag. Lack of sleep affects everyone at a different pace, but it catches up to everyone eventually. If you’re not sleeping well, you become overly tired and you won’t be your most productive at work. Your mental and physical health will also start to suffer.
You Keep Getting Sick
If you keep getting sick, it’s a sign that your immune system is compromised. This is a sign of mental burnout. Stress, anxiety, and other mental health issues all chip away at your body’s ability to fight off illness.
You Feel Down
There’s a fine line between feeling down often and being depressed. If you notice your mood is low more often than it’s high, take a break sooner rather than later. See how much of a difference a day off makes.
You Get Easily Irritated
If you find yourself snapping at co-workers, friends, or family and it’s not like you to act this way, this is a sign that you need a break. Stress can cause people to snap or find even the smallest things irritating, and it’s not fair to take that out on the people around you.
What to Do on a Mental Day
You could just take a day off and put your feet up and relax if that’s what works for you. You’re better off working on “healing” your mind and implementing some lifestyle changes, however.
Try exploring some of the following self-care techniques:
- Practice meditating and incorporate it into your routine going forward
- Do something peaceful you enjoy, such as taking a walk, working in the garden, and so on
- Get some rigorous exercise, and incorporate regular exercise into your routine going forward
- Talk about your stress and worries with family or friends
- See your doctor or a mental health professional and see what they advise.
To learn more about mental health, take a look at more lifestyle and wellness articles.