I’ve struggled with my own mental illness for over a decade. I’ve also witnessed and supported friends and family through their weakest points too.
I love learning about mental health and encouraging people to take care of themselves. Which is why I’m here to tell you why you need to take a mental health day.
Everyone is entitled to taking mental health days. In the employment world, taking a mental health day counts as a sick day.
Obviously, if you are happy and stress-free, don’t just abuse your right of taking a mental health day.
Taking a mental health day is for people who are struggling. For those people, you need to know that it is okay to take time away from work, responsibilities, family, friends, etc, and just take the time you need to feel better.
Looking After Your Mental Health
According to Mentalhealth.org.uk, it is estimated that 1 in 6 people in the past week experienced a common mental health problem.
You really are not alone.
The most common mental health problems in the UK are depression and anxiety. But for some reason, there’s still a taboo and an unwillingness to accept mental illness as a reason for needing a break.
Many people don’t view mental illness as they do physical illness but think about it, if you had chickenpox or a broken leg then you would probably take some time away from your usual responsibilities.
Taking a break from these responsibilities gives you the time to heal and recover from your physical illness. Similarly, taking a break from your responsibilities can boost your mental health, which benefits your work, family, and friends.
The Office for National Statistics states that men are less likely to cite mental health conditions as reasons for sickness absence from work. So, you guys need to sort this out. The many mental health campaigns are shedding some light on it to be okay not to be okay – so take heed of this advice.
My Mental Health Day
Last week, I was feeling fed up and very down. Life is always very up and down for me and right now there are several stressors that are playing havoc with my mind.
So, I took a mental health day. And guess what? It was well worth it!
I went for a long walk in the park to help clear my head and sat under a tree and read my book. (The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson.)
The book itself is very interesting and is one of the more down-to-earth ‘self-help’ books. I recommend giving it a read if you haven’t already.
But the act of reading that specific book didn’t matter. The thing I wanted to do with my mental health day was to take time for myself. Allow myself a breather.
Life is chaotic, fast-paced and very stressful at times. It is vital that you allow yourself a chance to breathe. This type of self-care is crucial to your mental health.
This week, I am also struggling with some stress, but hey-ho sometimes you need to plough through and keep yourself busy. Other times it is important to take a break and practice some self-love and self-care.
How do you know when you should take a mental health day? You know your body and mind better than anyone else, so listen to yourself. If you are really struggling and just need some time to reset and refocus then grant yourself that time.
What to Do on Your Mental Health Day
There are an unlimited amount of activities and things you can do on your mental health day. The most important thing to remember is that you are trying to make yourself feel better.
If you are stumped for things to do, look at the list of things I like to do when I need a pick-me-up:
- Read a book
- Watch a film
- Go to the park
- Enjoy the countryside
- Play some games
- Write down how you are feeling
- Spend time with family or friends
- Bake some delicious cakes
- Feed or play with animals
- Plan a getaway or a trip
- Listen to the waves lapping the shore at the beach
- Sit under the sky and just watch the clouds roll by
- Take yourself to a crowded area and watch the people
- Sing-along to your favourite songs
- Do some exercise
- Clean your house
- Try something new (that hobby you’ve always wanted to do perhaps)
- Learn something new (an instrument, a language, or even read up some facts about insects!)
- Practice meditation
- Put your life into perspective and write down what you are thankful for, what you are good at, or what your life goals are.
One of the hardest things I find as a freelance copywriter is finding time to write my own content and finding time to do the business side of things (admin, finding new clients, updating my website etc).
I sometimes feel shameful to call myself a freelance content writer when I scarcely write anything for my own business. Which is why I decided to join #Write52 – hopefully my fellow writers will make sure I stay on track. I hope you enjoyed my first entry; I might stick with mental health as the theme or I might not – I guess you’ll have to come back and find out.