AnxietyPanda first heard about taking mental breaks a few years ago, while browsing through the BoredPanda website. There was an article on a boss’s brilliant response to an employee who requested a mental health day off. AnxietyPanda’s homeland’s human occupants enjoy a fair labor law and are entitled to paid sick leave, but unfortunately, they do not see mental health as a sickness worth paying for. The thought of taking a mental health day off never even crossed a panda’s mind and she is delighted to see that people are starting to take such issues more seriously albeit in a distant land. The wheels have started to turn. That’s all that matters for now.
What is a Mental Health Break?
According to the Oxford Dictionary, a mental health break is “Time taken off work or school for rest or recuperation, which is claimed as sick leave.” The earliest use of the term was used in the Washington Post during the 1970s. It feels like so much more than just “rest or recuperation”, though? Most people think that if you take a day for “rest or recuperation” you are lazy, don’t want to work and only want to go have fun days at the beach or be out in the crowds, or out shopping but for AnxietyPanda when the time comes for a mental break, she genuinely needs a break AWAY from the rush and people! At home, with only closest friends or family if need be, but preferably alone. The cat is always welcome.
But, on the other side, perhaps for you, FUN is just what you need. And then, so what? Why is it so bad to have a fun day at the beach when you need a mental break? It’s not about wanting to skip work. A person without mental health problems will just never understand this. It’s not their fault, but it’s not ours either and we should learn to fight against the stigmas attached to our conditions. AnxietyPanda feels that the best way to do this would be to shower those who criticize or judge you with love and acceptance. In the beginning, this may feel impossible to achieve but with practice, you will be able to show compassion and love in even the most hateful situations. This, friends, is strength.
When Do You Need a Mental Health Break?
The answer to this question is different for everybody and is dependent on a person’s ability to handle certain situations under various conditions. AnxietyPanda knows that it’s time to take a break when she unexplainably bursts into tears for even the smallest of criticism that is thrown her way and when she starts experiencing an immense sense of being judged by everyone and worst of all, when she starts to skip mealsbecause there is just so much to do and she can’t possibly stop now because then the work will never be done on time and she still needs to get home and do the cleaning up and do some writing and play with the cat and entertain the boar and get some sleep and… And always tired.
Stress is scary in the sense that sometimes you don’t even realize how your personality changes when you are under stress. It’s only once you’ve taken a break and taken a step back that you find yourself again and realize that you may have been somebody you did not like or that you may have wasted so much time on the fear of other’s judgment that that actually added to the stressful situations you were under and it ended up influencing your behavior in a negative way. Don’t ignore even the smallest signs, especially if you have a mental condition. Take that break! It’s going to be way better for your productivity in the long run anyway!
How To Take a Mental Health Day – 5 Easy Steps
Be nice and conscientious and try to plan your off days around the times when the office has the least amount of pressure and don’t plan it for times where it is absolutely critical that you work.
Plan your day. Make sure that you are prepared for everything that you might need so that you can spend your day the way you would like to instead of having to run around doing errands.
Don’t work! Switch off your phone or have it on silent and don’t look at anything work-related on your computer. This is your day.
On the day, don’t let the alarm go off. Wake up naturally.
Ignore any feelings of guilt that comes with you doing what you need to do to keep yourself healthy and sane. Just think of the productivity and energy you’re going to have when you return to your work with a fresh, new perspective on everything.
At the end of the day, as long as you spend this time doing what you enjoy, indulging in something that will take your mind off the stresses or anxieties in your life, is all that matters no matter what you choose to do and no matter what anybody has to say about it.
Why You Should Take a Mental Health Day – You’ll be surprised by the reasons!
You will become less creative the more and more stressed you become. Not only does stress inhibit your creativity, it also reduces your ability to perform at your ultimate best and think clearly about the tasks at hand.
Taking regular breaks will only be beneficial towards you becoming healthy in spirit and in return you will be able to put more effort and focus into your work which will then lead to better work performance and satisfaction!
You deserve this! And this is the ultimate best reason. Self-care is so important and so often neglected. Pamper yourself or go get that health check that you’ve been so paranoid about lately. Just focus on YOU and what makes YOU happy and indulge … Your senses await!