Why are mental health days important?

Our modern world has a lot of demands, making it easy to feel stressed out or overwhelmed. In order to not allow stress to impact your physical and mental well-being, stress needs to be actively managed. One way to reduce stress is to take an occasional mental health day that involves a break from all life’s stressors.

Benefits of taking mental health days

 There are many proven benefits of a mental health day. Here is what a daylong break can do for you.

1. Can reduce burnout

Too many demands on your time and energy can lead to burnout. This can happen with your career or family life when you are stretched too thin. Dedicating time to relax and recharge when things feel overwhelming can help reduce burnout.

2. Improves physical health

Excessive stress will eventually impact your physical health. There is a symbiotic relationship between physical and mental health and the mind and body are more connected than many realize. When you take a day off for your mental well-being, you will see benefits to your physical health as well.

3. Can improve perspective

When you are stressed and frazzled, it is hard to notice the positive aspects of your life. This is another reason why mental health days are important — they can help improve your mood, which can improve your perspective towards the various areas in your life.  

4. Reduces presenteeism

Presenteeism is when you show up for work but are not really “present” or doing anything productive. Feeling mentally unwell can bleed over to your productivity at work. Take care of yourself by utilizing the occasional break to remain productive.

5. Feel less lonely

When you take a mental health day, this allows you to spend time with loved ones. Consider booking a lunch date with a friend or calling a loved one you haven’t spoken to in a while. A mental health day is a great time to nourish relationships that can be neglected when you are too busy with daily tasks.

Mental health days benefit children

Children may not know how to ask for a mental health day, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t important for kids, too. Between homework, activities and other demands, kids are frequently just as spread thin as adults. A day off from school or a break from activities might be just what your child needs to recharge. 

Children can’t always communicate that they need a mental health day. A few signs to look for might be that they ask to stay home, seem overly tired or are struggling with an academic or social issue at school. A good time for a break might be after a big project is complete or after a sports season. 

If your child does need a mental health day, try to support them in doing something they enjoy. Spending the day on social media, in front of the TV or playing video games won’t leave them adequately relaxed or recharged. Instead, encourage them to spend time outside or enjoy a non-screen activity.

Things to do

What are some things you can do on a mental health day? Here are a few ideas of what you can do during your day of relaxation.

1. Spend a day in nature

Connecting with nature is a great way to relax, recharge, and get away from the demands of the world. Go for a hike, visit a local lake or just spend time reading or having a picnic in a local park.

2. Do a physical activity

Physical activity helps reduce stress and improve your mood. Consider spending part of your mental health day enjoying some type of relaxing exercise. Try a yoga class, a nature walk or a bike ride in beautiful scenery to recharge.

3. Break away from the internet/TV

While many of us use the TV or internet to zone out, too much time on screens can make you more stressed out. On your mental health day, consider leaving screens behind. Instead, spend time reading a book, doing a puzzle or engaging in another non-screen-related hobby.