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Take a Mental Health Day

We’ve reached the end of our Managing Stress series for April’s Stress Awareness Month, and hopefully you are refreshed with positive ways to manage stress as it happens. Even with all of the great tips we’ve discussed, our stress levels can become unmanageable, and we need a time out for ourselves. And that is okay!

Often in our busy lives, stress is unavoidable, and we need a break. One of the best things we can do for ourselves to manage our stress is to take a wellness break aka mental health day. We encourage you to take a break or the day off to reset and recharge yourself when you need it.

You can plan for the time off in advance or you might wake up in the morning and realize you need the day off; you’re encouraged to make any necessary arrangements and communications and take the day for yourself to relax and re-center. You don’t need to provide an explanation other than you are taking paid time off or a sick day.

We are only so resilient after prolonged periods of stress and time for yourself is a great prevention tool for burnout. According to the American Psychological Association, signs of burnout include a decrease in motivation or productivity, negative thoughts about yourself or others, and physical or mental exhaustion. Research from the World Health Organization shows that anxiety and depressive disorders cost more than a TRILLION DOLLARS globally in lost productivity every year.

If you have PTO, it is yours to use guilt free to take care of you. Use it when you need it! And if you don’t have PTO to use, and need a day to yourself, do what you can to make that happen (like scheduling your mental health day on your day off) because you and your safety are more important than anything else.

You’re taking the mental health day

Congrats! You are taking care of you. You scheduled your mental health day, made any necessary arrangements, and took the day off – now what to do?

Here are some helpful tips from ZenCare:

  • Make a home cooked meal (or get takeout!)

  • Call a loved one you haven’t spoken to in a while

  • Clean a small part of your space that relieves physical and mental clutter

  • Go for a walk in the woods

  • Read a book

  • Binge a tv show

  • Take a nap

  • Meditate or pray

  • Go grocery shopping

  • Wash your bedsheets

  • Get some exercise or take a yoga class

  • Treat yourself to some spa time – a long bath, a soak in the hot springs, a massage

  • Watch a movie

  • Have a therapy session

  • Love on your animals

  • Get creative through painting, poetry or drawing (it doesn’t have to be a masterpiece!)

  • Listen to music

The idea behind a mental health day is to invest in your own self-care and take time for yourself to relax, decompress and recharge for what’s to come. It’s a prime time to reset your attitude and find gratitude for all that you are and have in your life.

And remember, if you need any guidance or resources for self-care, a licensed clinician is available to you for FREE via your company’s Employee Assistance Program.

We hope you learned some things this last week of Stress Awareness Month and we’d love to hear your comments below. Feel free to email us at for any assistance or guidance to additional resources.

Until next time, take care and be well!

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