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9 Signs You Need a Mental Health Day and How to Take It


When is it time to say when? Have you been pushing yourself a little too far for a little too long? There’s no shame in needing a day off to let yourself unwind and to give a little boost to your mental health. Many people wait until they’re ill before taking a day off of work, but we’re here to tell you it’s ok if you’re not ok, and you may need to consider taking some time off to recuperate mentally. 

If you’re feeling burned out or stressed out, can’t relax, or can’t seem to find your groove, take the day off! Even if you spend your days at home caring for kids or other people in your life, we all need a little space for ourselves sometimes. Stepping away from the housework or your day job can help you to feel renewed and refreshed and help you find joy and satisfaction again.

Signs You Need a Mental Health Day

1. You Feel Tired and Run Down

It’s one thing to be a little tired here and there, especially if you’ve been dealing with a lot. Yet, if you are feeling tired day after day and just can’t seem to feel well-rested or energetic, you probably need a break!

2. You Feel More Anxious Than Usual

If you find yourself feeling on edge or can’t seem to relax even when there isn’t anything that you need to be accomplishing, your nervous system may need a time out.

young woman cannot sleep

3. You Can’t Sleep Well at Night

Everyday stress can certainly affect your sleep quality, and if the Zzz’s are eluding you, it may be time to take a day off and let your body and mind find an inner state of tranquility.

4. You Can’t Focus

Sometimes it can feel like we’re working so hard but not really getting much done. Lack of focus and productivity is an early sign of burnout. If your mind just won’t cooperate, give yourself a mental break so that you can come back to projects with a fresh perspective.

5. You Get Angry Easily

If you’ve got a short fuse lately and everything seems to set you off, this is a sure sign you need to take a day for your own needs. Let yourself cool down by nourishing yourself mentally and physically.

6. You Feel Disconnected From Others Around You

If the people you know and love seem harder to relate to lately, you might need to step away to get a clear perspective. It’s okay to temporarily withdraw yourself from the world for a bit to renew your emotional energy. If you’re feeling depleted, it can be hard to be a good friend, family member, or partner. Some people even start to resent those around them if their own emotional needs aren’t being met.

young woman having sugar cravings

7. Your Appetite Has Changed

Maybe you’re overeating or craving sugary foods in response to added stress. Or it could be that you don’t have much appetite at all, and nothing really sounds good. Either way, if your appetite is in a funk, this could be a signal from your body that something needs to change. 

8. You Keep Getting Sick

Sometimes we just have bad luck and seem to catch everything that is going around, but if you are getting sick over and over, this can also be a sign that you need some truly restorative rest. Many people push through a mild cold and try to keep up with business as usual, but this isn’t a great long-term strategy. Our immune systems are more susceptible when we are under stress, so take all the time you need. Let go of any guilt you may have about missing work or not cooking dinner, and let others step in to help when they can. 

9 . You Don’t Feel Like Yourself

If something just feels off, and you aren’t feeling quite like yourself, then it is surely time for some self-care and inner exploration of your feelings. Sometimes people tend to push away their emotions, so they build up over time, and it can start to impact many aspects of life. 

How to Take a Mental Health Day

For some people, just sitting around the house and taking it easy is the perfect way to revive their mental health. Other people may crave social interaction or going somewhere fun for the day to trigger a positive change. It’s up to you if you want to be pampered, spend some time alone, or gather with your closest friends. 

young man snuggling with his dog

Here are a few ideas that might be appealing for a much-needed day off.

♦ Go to the spa or get a massage
♦ Watch a cheesy movie that you love
Turn on some music and dance or sing
♦ Have an at-home spa day. Try a salt/sugar scrub, a long bath, a facial mask, etc.
♦ Try a new recipe or cook up some comfort food
Snuggle with pets
♦ Go out to coffee with a good friend or close family member
♦ Go to a yoga class or practice yoga at home
Go for a run
♦ Try a guided meditation app 
♦ Do some form of enjoyable exercise, such as playing tennis, walking your dog, going swimming, etc.
♦ Try some therapeutic house cleaning or reorganizing (if that makes you feel good)
♦ Find a creative outlet. Paint, play an instrument, make a scrapbook, whatever sounds fun!

How to Ask for a Mental Health Day

Asking for a day off from work or your family should not feel shameful, so don’t let guilt talk you out of it. This is a normal part of life, and everyone needs a break sometimes. In fact, by taking the time you need, you are setting a good example for those around you. Maybe other people in your life are feeling overworked and overwhelmed, and you can be an inspiration for them to take a much-needed day off too.

young woman enjoying a day off

If your boss is the workaholic type, they might even respect you for it, and if not, then it’s time to let go of other people’s expectations. How you approach the situation depends on the kind of relationship you have with your manager or supervisor. You can simply say you need to take a mental health day, and no other details are required. If you are on more personal terms, you can say you need to take some time to rejuvenate and clear your mind, so you are ready to take on more projects again. It is also okay to call out “sick” for the day by simply saying that you are not feeling well. You really don’t need to share the details with anyone unless you want to.

Waking up to Wellness

Taking some time off for yourself can be one of the most important things you do to support your mental health. Whether you just need a quiet day alone or a long talk with a good friend, give yourself what you need. Don’t view this as some kind of shortcoming or failure. In our busy, modern lives, we are bombarded with more sources of stress than our ancestors could even imagine. Never before has our society needed to prioritize our mental health more, and it’s vital that we nourish our inner selves in ways that revive our love for life. At Live Conscious®, we prioritize self-care and mental health and know that it can sometimes be hard to take the time you need, but it’s essential for long-term wellness. We hope to empower others to care for themselves and live a life that’s fulfilling, genuine, and overflowing with long-lasting optimism and peace of mind.