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.
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.
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.