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Why Mental Health Days Aren't Lazy

Anyone else get "Mental Health" days from their parents when they were in grade school?

For us it was 3 days that we could use at any point during the school year as a "mental health" day. Most years I wouldn't use them all and they were typically taken when I was just overly stressed or needed time to finish a project. Full transparency, I still take about 1 or 2 per year...

I think it's easy to get swept up in the idea that you have to always be working or "doing" to be considered productive and not lazy. Most of the time I have difficulty allowing myself to take time for myself to rest. I end up working 6-7 days of the week, some days as late as 8 or 9pm. Sure, I get a lot accomplished, but there usually comes a point where my efficiency begins to decline.

Why does that happen? At some point your mind needs a break. It needs time to do nothing or something that you love to recharge. That is why mental health days aren't lazy and in fact they're quite the opposite. Imagine using your phone without ever charging it. Eventually it would stop working altogether. Your brain works the same way. Giving yourself time to recharge is actually productive because if you don't recharge you might just stop working altogether.

The idea of a mental health day is to do what you feel and what serves your mental health. This could look differently for everyone and something that works for me may not work for you. For me, a mental health day means a great workout, a bubble bath, reading and watching some of my favorite movies. A day of that, without emails, and I'm usually much more effective and efficient the next day.

Here are some other "Mental Health" day ideas:

  • Take a Hike

  • Go to the Beach

  • Sleep in, like a lot

  • Journal

  • Hang out with friends

Try out some of these and stick with what seems to work best for you. Note, this is not an invitation to engage in self-destructive behavior. If you feel worse the next day, it wasn't productive. This is to help you recharge and feel better than you did the day before.

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