12 Women Share How They Spend "Mental Health Days" Off Work

by Eliza Castile

It's no secret that the American workplace involves long hours, fierce competition, and little vacation time — a combination that leaves even the most ambitious workers drained eventually. When that time comes, a growing number of people have been turning to mental health days to rest and recharge before returning to the daily grind. Although we're taught that sick days are meant for physical illness, psychologists say it's as important to take care of your mind as it is your body. Ultimately, if you can afford to take one, a single day off from work can drastically improve your mental state, staving off burnout and putting your problems in perspective.

There's just one problem. Once you officially take the time off, what are you supposed to do on a mental health day? Since you have an entire day to yourself, should you run errands? Work out? Lay in bed until noon? Judging from the responses to a recent Ask Women thread on Reddit, the answer is up to you. In September, a Reddit user asked, "Do you occasionally take 'mental health/self care' days? And if you do what do you do?"

Dozens of users chimed in to say that yes, they absolutely do take days off for themselves. The details varied, but most days tended to take a similar shape: Sleep in, spend time outside, and relax. Some people said they stayed far, far away from chores, while others said they preferred to get some light housework done. Unsurprisingly, pretty much everyone said they watched Netflix or read a book. Overall, the idea is to keep stress to a minimum, even if it's just for one day.

For ideas for your next mental health day, you can check out the thread for yourself on Reddit, but the highlights are below.


Activities, Activities, Activities

This comment has tons of ideas for activities, from going shopping to taking your bike out for a spin.


Go Outside

You don't need to be at death's door to consider yourself unfit for work. If you're not feeling in the right state of mind for work, you may be surprised by how much it helps to take a day off. For this user, making a point of going outside is key.


Go For A Drive

Do you have a car? Use it. Take a page out of this user's book and grab a friend for a ride around the countryside.


Read All Day

Reading a book with a mug of tea can do wonders for your stress levels. Side note: If you hate everyone at your job, it's probably time to look elsewhere.


Take The Morning Off

A mental health day doesn't have to last the entire day. If it's easier, just go into work late, so you have time to leisurely prepare for the day.


Call Family

A key aspect of taking care of yourself is having a support network. While you're relaxing, call your family or friends and talk about what's bothering you — or, if it's better, talk about nothing important at all.


Enjoy The Sun

Nature can drastically improve mental health. If your day off is sunny and warm, go enjoy some vitamin D.


Play Video Games

Mental health days are about enjoying yourself. If video games are your thing, indulge in a marathon gaming session.


Tidy Up The House

We're taught to feel guilty for taking off time from work unless we're halfway to dying on the spot, but like this Reddit user explains, sometimes you just need a day off.


Hit The Gym

A workout followed by a stop at the salon? That sounds like paradise.


Depends On The Day

Mental health days differ not only between people, but between situations as well. The trick is to realize which kind of day off you want.


Visit Hogwarts

If nothing else works, Harry Potter marathons are enough to cure literally anyone of the blues.