9 Signs You Need To Take A Mental Health Day
There are certain symptoms that indicate you should take a sick day. These symptoms are physical and clear. You can take a justified day off work and get a doctor’s note if you have a fever or a horrible migraine, for example. But if the symptoms are not as clear and they do not manifest themselves physically, can you call in sick? Should you call in sick? How do you know when to do so? Are you in need of a mental health day?
The concept of a mental health day
Mental health issues can hinder your ability to work as much as any other physical ailment. Maybe you do not need a day off if we are thinking in terms of something infectious that you might spread to others. Nevertheless, these mental health issues can affect your performance at work. Therefore, you should be able to take a day off to address them.
How can I tell if I need a mental health day?
A mental health day is an important tool for you and the organization you work for. But how can you tell if you need a mental health day? Here are some important signs that you need to take some time off work for mental health reasons:
- Loss of motivation
- Lack of focus
- Work-related anxiety – especially after business hours
- Work-related cynicism or sarcasm
You should pay close attention to these nine signs that you need a mental health day. If you start feeling just one or maybe even two of the symptoms above, you need a mental health day. Be careful with this. We recommend you take your day off as soon as you start feeling the symptoms. Just as with the flu, trying to power through them by coming to work and trying to do your job might not be wise.
Furthermore, if you try to suppress the symptoms and push forward, you might go past the point where a mental health day would be beneficial. Ignoring these symptoms as soon as you start feeling them could lead to a more serious mental health disorder that would require professional help.
As important to you as it is to your organization
Another important aspect of mental health days is that they benefit the organization you work for at least as much as they benefit you. It is true that losing a worker for a day comes at a cost. But the cumulative cost of making workers come into the workplace when their productivity starts taking a hit when one of the above symptoms just appears, could be higher.
This is especially true if the competition does offer mental health days. Organizations that turn a blind eye to their staff’s early signs that they need a day off for mental health reasons could face:
- Higher employee turnover – resulting in more training hours at a cost of production time, and less experience retained
- Lower productivity – workers in any state of mental distress will be less productive
- A handicap when it comes to attracting new talent – prospective employees will see mental health days as a benefit
What to do if your organization does not offer mental health days?
Nonetheless, many organizations still do not offer mental health days. If you work for such an organization, we are not encouraging you to look for a new job by any means. Once you have identified that one or even two of the above symptoms start manifesting themselves, take a day off by other means. You can still do one of the following if your organization does not offer mental health days or you are not comfortable asking for one:
- Take a day off at the expense of your paid vacation – it is not ideal, but you will be buying yourself valuable time
- Tell your manager you need a day off for medical reasons
Even if you work at a place that has a mental health-positive environment, you might not feel comfortable disclosing the reason why you are taking a day off. In that case you can also use one of the two methods above to get the time you need.
What to do with your mental health day?
Now that you know how to identify when you need a day off for mental health reasons, and you know how to get it, you should also understand what to do with it. You can do something relaxing like going for a hike or engaging in a hobby that helps you decompress.
If you do not know what to do with your time off or the prospect of having it is daunting, you can also talk to a mental health professional. Our doctors are available to help you. If taking a mental health day doesn’t help you feel better or address the symptoms that you are having, consider speaking to an Antidote doctor so that you can come back to work in a better, more productive state of mind.