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Why it’s Okay to Take A Mental Health Day

When people think of sick days, they don’t often think about mental health. Mental health however, is an essential part of each person’s overall health and wellness. In fact, mental health is just as important as physical health. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in five adults experiences mental health conditions every year. While mental illness is not always avoidable, preventive mental health care efforts can aid in maintaining a healthier mind and body.

Most people spend a lot of time in their workplace and no matter how much someone loves their job, it’s inevitable that they will need a mental break for one reason or another every once in a while. That’s not to say, of course, that individuals should take time off every time they experience stress in their lives, but if they feel like things have just gotten to be too much, it may be good to take a mental health sick day to recenter and de-stress.

Unfortunately, not every workplace is open to the idea of individuals using sick time for their mental health, despite the fact that mental and physical health should hold equal value. Taking a mental health care day off however is your right, but how you take it off may differ depending on your particular workplace. Here’s some steps to help you request a mental health sick day off.

1. Establish why you need to take a mental health sick day for yourself. Make it clear to yourself why a mental health sick day is important for you at this current moment. Psychotherapist Amy Morin from Psychology Today prompts readers to consider taking a mental health sick day for the following three reasons:

  • You’re distracted by something you need to address.

  • You’ve been neglecting yourself.

  • You need to attend appointments to care for your mental health.

2. Assess if your company or organization is open to the idea of taking a mental health sick day using sick leave. If your work culture is open to mental health sick days, then you may feel comfortable stating that you are taking a mental health sick day. If asking or explaining the details will only cause confusion or resistance, it may be better to just take the sick day with very little explanation. You should never have to explain yourself for taking a sick day and if people pressure you for details you can simply state that you do not feel comfortable sharing., but that you are going to be okay and appreciate their concern.

3. Take the day, remove yourself from your work and push away any thoughts that make you feel guilty for taking the time. In the past, there’s been a stigma that has surrounded mental health care that has made it feel non-essential or unimportant. Mental health care is an important part of everyone’s health and wellness and should be prioritized just as much as one’s physical health. Take care of yourself and do whatever it is you need to do to improve your mental health.

Ultimately, when it comes to mental health, you are entitled to take care of yourself in whatever ways you need. Your health (both physical and mental) should always come first.

Learn more about how self-care/self preservation and work environment services by checking out resources and training provided by MCS Chicago.

Contributing Writer: Brittany A. Hamilton

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