If you’ve ever wanted to take a “mental health day” and call off work, you’re not alone. Forty-one percent of all employees say they regularly feel stressed at work, and four out of five workers believe that employers should encourage their employees to make their health a priority.
With that said, where does one stand when it comes to the issue of taking a mental health day? “It's essential for our health and well-being,” says Kathy Caprino, a women’s career coach and expert at work-life balance. “Needing a day because you are physically and mentally off is valid,” she says.
Taking a mental health day allows your body and mind to relax, reset and recharge. However, according to Brandon Smith, the founder of The Workplace Therapist, “While there may be many merits of taking a mental health day, it is still not socially accepted to announce that is what you are doing.”
As unfair as it may seem, Smith’s point is valid. It’s an unfortunate fact that seven out of 10 bosses feel that stress, anxiety, or depression are not valid reasons for requesting time away from work…even though 25 percent of bosses suffer from mental strain and exhaustion themselves, as per a recent survey carried out by Global AXA Health Insurance.
Ultimately, the most important things to consider when questioning whether you should take a mental health day include:
Weighing your options. Take a moment to consider the consequences of taking a mental health day versus not taking a mental health day. “If you don’t attend to your stress, anxiety, or depression, it can affect your work performance and composure in the workplace—which could result in a layoff—and even cause physical ailments, which can obviously damage your career and life,” says Smith. Will the consequences of skipping a mental health day be more or less disastrous for you? It’s important to know the answer to this question.
Choosing the right day. Leaving work at a time when your absence will cause more harm than good could be problematic for both your mental health and your job. Timing is everything here, so it’s best to take your mental health day when you’re not working on anything time-sensitive or critical. But that’s when I get the most stressed, you say! Sometimes knowing there’s a light at the end of the tunnel in the form of a mental health day can temporarily lower rising stress levels.
Deciding what you deserve. ]
“I believe that part of the widespread malaise of corporate America is that so many people feel and believe they don’t have any control over their lives and time, and they’re exhausted to the point of non-functioning,” says Caprino. “To live a healthy, productive life, it’s critical to take control and manage your time in and out of work in an empowered way.”
While not all symptoms of stress, anxiety or depression will resolve themselves during a 24-hour day off from work, it is possible to feel significantly better - up to 50 percent better, according to Brandon Smith. It’s also possible that you’re missing key nutrients and minerals that help support a positive mood and appropriate stress response. The addition of a quality multi-vitamin supplement, such as our Smart for Life Multi-Vitamin, may help replenish what your body is missing and negate the need for future mental health days.
However, if you don't feel a positive change after taking a mental health day or adding a multi-vitamin to your daily routine, there may be bigger issues at hand. “If this is the case, turn to outside help,” says Caprino. “A therapist or career/life coach can help you reexamine your career and life to see if there is a deeper issue at play here.”