March 16, 2022

Can I Ask for A Mental Health Day At Work?

Mental health days should be normalized in workplaces, so in an effort to do so, let’s explore what mental health days are, how they help professionals, and how to ask for one at work.

By Annie Wright|Adulting, Career

It’s understood that we should always do our best at work, but what happens when a health issue occurs that greatly affects our ability to perform?

When you come down with cold and flu symptoms, it’s seen as perfectly acceptable to take a day or two to recover from your illness.

However, when something negatively impacts a worker’s mental health, these people often feel guilty about needing time to themselves.

Requesting a mental health day at work can feel like too daunting of a task to approach, so many people force themselves to power through their symptoms.

Mental health days should be normalized in workplaces, so in an effort to do so, let’s explore what mental health days are, how they help professionals, and how to ask for one at work.

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What Is A Mental Health Day?

In many companies, employees are entitled to taking a sick day or personal time off once in a while.

Taking a sick day is often the best course of action when a person is experiencing symptoms of illness that make it too difficult to work effectively.

Instead of struggling through work, a sick day allows the individual time to rest and recover at home.

A mental health day is similar in that individuals stay home and rest for a day, but instead of a physical illness they’re trying to overcome, they’re resting in order to relieve their mental strain.

How Do Mental Health Days Help?

Taking a mental health day to relieve some of the burnout you’re facing in your day-to-day life can help you recharge and rejuvenate yourself.

Mental health days may not work to repair serious underlying mental health issues, but they can be an effective tool for relieving workplace stress.

Think of a mental health day as a break, a chance to clear your mind and refresh your mental well-being so that you can tackle your next workday more effectively.

When Should I Take A Mental Health Day?

When it comes to taking a mental health day at an appropriate time, it’s best to do so before your stress becomes too much to bear.

Dedicate a day to improving your well-being when you’re feeling stressed and burnt out instead of waiting until you’re overcome with anxiety.

Should you be finding it difficult to concentrate at work, feeling anxious even during breaks, or overwhelmed by the tasks you’re facing, it may be time to take a break.

If possible, arrange your time off ahead of schedule.

This way, if you have your day off covered in advance, you won’t be tempted to worry about work while you’re at home trying to feel better.

Additionally, it might be a good idea to schedule your mental health day for a time that you’re not scheduled to be in the office.

Having a mental health day on your day off can help keep your mind on what matters, as well as helping you avoid the distractions of the workweek.

How To Take A Mental Health Day

If you need to take some time to yourself to improve your mental health, there are a couple of things you should do in order to prepare.

If you’re seeking time off during the workweek, it’s a good idea to be familiar with your workplace’s policies in order to be sure you’re taking time off correctly.

In some businesses, you have the right to personal time off or sick days.

You can usually be brief about your reasoning for calling in sick, and can give a general reason like, “I’m not feeling well.”

When filling out a PTO request, make sure that you’re following your company’s rules so that you have the best possible chances of having your time approved without incident.

Remember, you do not have to go into detail about your reasons for needing time off.

If your workplace supports the need for mental health days, you’ll likely have an easier time requesting a day off.

If you work for a more strict company, you’re within your rights to state that you “have an appointment,” or a “personal issue,” that you need to deal with on a certain day.

Your employer is not entitled to know the intimate details of your health information, so if you need personal time off, you do not need to provide your boss with an essay about why you need a day off.

It’s your time and your health.

While mental health days can be a benefit for professionals in high-stress environments, it may also be a good idea to speak with a licensed therapist.

At Evergreen Counseling, our clinicians have experience working with professionals in high-stress work environments.

Attending regular therapy sessions can help curb daily stressors so you don’t feel so drained when the time for mental healthcare presents itself.

If you’d like to seek support for your mental health needs, you’re welcome to contact our offices as soon as you’re ready. We’ve helped many people struggling with their stress levels, and we would be honored to help you, too.

Please feel free to book a complimentary 20-minute personalized matching consultation with our clinical intake coordinator to find the best clinical match for you.

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