Everyone needs a mental health day once in a while — maybe to catch up on a few more Z’s or just to indulge in some “me time.” A mental health day is a day you take off work to relax, refresh and rejuvenate. As part of Mental Health Month, we talked with psychiatrist Dave Davis, M.D., a psychiatrist on staff at Piedmont Hospital and Piedmont Psychiatric Clinic, about the benefits of taking a day for yourself.
“Mental health days are great,” he says. “Everyone can benefit from them.”
Dr. Davis says there are some signs you may notice when you need to take a mental health day — boredom, poor sleep habits, more stress and worry than normal, and taking yourself too seriously. When this happens, a day off of work may be just what the doctor ordered. What you do on your day off depends largely on what relaxes you.
“Mental days are for fun,” says Dr. Davis. “Try a new experience, something you haven’t done before. Invite a friend you haven’t seen in a while to the Georgia Aquarium, Zoo Atlanta or the Atlanta History Center. Delve into your fantasy life and find a new adventure.”
You might argue you don’t have time to take off work because you’re too busy, and a day off would only add to your workload when you return. But Dr. Davis says you are only fooling yourself if you really believe that.
“Anyone can take a day off,” he says. “We are all replaceable. Saying we are too busy is only a way of trying to pump up our self-esteem.”
Dr. Davis warns that those who ignore the tell-tale signs and neglect their own needs may suffer the consequences.
“If someone refuses to play, they may pay the price with depression, anxiety, hypochondria or even drugs,” he says.
Remember, the goal of a mental health day is to feel less stressed or anxious. If you’re extremely stressed out, one day may not be enough. Try to plan your mental health day on a Friday so you can have one day to decompress and the rest of the weekend to enjoy the positive effects of it. In the end, it can even make you a happier, more efficient employee.
Learn more ways to reduce stress and improve your well-being.