The Importance of Mental Health Days

People usually associate days off of work or school with physical sickness, but rarely do we deem mental health as an excusable sickness. It seems to be a taboo subject, but taking a day or two off for your mental health is completely okay and even necessary sometimes. If you’re feeling a little down mentally, make sure you do whatever is necessary to take care of yourself before anything or anyone else.

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Ideally, scheduling a day off in advance is the best approach when planning out your mental health day. By doing so, you are better able to rearrange your workload and avoid the possible stress about missing a day of classes and/or work. However, if you wake up in the morning and just feel like today is not going to be your day, this might be a good opportunity for a mental health day. If you don’t want to take off on a weekday or you feel strong enough to make it through a tough day, a Saturday or Sunday off are both great alternatives.

This may go without saying but decide what you need most: If you’re exhausted from a long week, your body will be giving you signs that you need to rest. This could range from aches and pains in different parts of your body to developing a head cold. If you’re feeling like you can’t possibly face another long day, sit back and think about what will benefit you most. For some people, it’s taking a hot shower and having an all-day Netflix binge-watching session. For others, it’s doing some yoga to decrease the cortisol levels in their systems (cortisol is the body’s natural stress hormone). Depending on what emotions you’re feeling will help you decide what you’re going to benefit the most from.

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If you’re feeling like you need a change of scenery because your living space is just so small you can’t handle it, go for a walk around campus if the weather isn’t too bad. You could also head to your favorite coffee shop or bakery with your laptop and get some emails answered or your simpler assignments complete. This way you can still feel productive even if you’re not attending classes.

Maybe you don’t feel like there are specific things in your life that are causing problems—you might just need to adjust some of your daily habits. It’s probably going to be impossible to eliminate all of your stressors in one day, but you can try to make significant reductions in certain areas. Start by curating a list of all the things that tend to drain your energy the most. From there, work on eliminating these things. For example, if you stay up late every night doing homework and continuously feel stressed about not completing assignments adequately, you can try doing these assignments in advance, days before their due dates. Completing assignments early will not only keep you from stressing about the quality of your work but will also give you some more free time.

The bottom line is, don’t focus so much on the hard things in your life that you’re constantly stressed, upset and anxious about. Your life can be so much better if you do your best to make sure your mental health is in check. Your happiness is important!

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