Most people will take a day off work when they are physically sick. Many people, though, are reluctant to take a mental health day. They are afraid how others will view them if their colleagues know that they took the day off for this reason.
Recently, software developer Madalyn Parker emailed her coworkers about taking a few days off for her mental wellness. Her boss provided a compassionate response. Both the original email and the response made national news. Despite the associated stigma, taking a day off for your mental health can be a beneficial experience. If you are considering doing this, be sure to consider these four questions provided in a recent Inc. article.
Why Do I Need a Mental Health Day?
If you simply take a few days off because you are feeling overwhelmed, taking off a day may not help. Identifying the real issue will help you address the problem.
How Will I Spend My Time and What Will It Accomplish?
Engaging in self-pity activities or other activities that will only provide a temporary escape from your problems could do more damage than good. Instead, participate in activities that will help you, such as taking a walk or getting a soothing massage. Find an activity or activities that will boost your spirits rather than bringing you down more.
It is also important to decide what you hope to accomplish by taking a day off. Is it going to be a day for you to relax from work pressures? Will it be a day to make plans for the future? Perhaps, if your current work situation is too stressful, it might even be a day to look for work elsewhere.
What Will I Do Afterwards?
Taking a day or two off work is not going to magically repair your overall well being. Think of other ways to help after returning to work. At times, this may mean seeing a professional or joining a support group. It may also include integrating relaxing activities into your daily routine.
What Will I Tell My Boss?
While things went well for Parker when she announced why she was taking a couple of days off work, not all bosses are as understanding of such a request. Before giving your coworkers and supervisor the full story, consider how understanding they will be of your situation. Decide beforehand how open you are going to be about why you are taking time off work.
Interested in learning more about this and related topics? Visit the Mental Health section of our blog.
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