5 Signs You Need a Mental Health Day

Have you been feeling just a little off, especially at work – for a while now? You might need a mental health day. Not a sickie, not because you are lazy, not for nothing. You might need a mental health day to either manage your mental health, or to ensure you don’t head down a path of more serious diagnosed mental health conditions. Beyond Blue describe mental health as ‘being cognitively, emotionally and socially healthy – the way we think, feel and develop relationships – and not merely the absence of a mental health condition.’

So don’t wait until you are diagnosed with anxiety or depression to look after your mental health. Mental health days are both a treatment and a prevention. Whether you feel comfortable labelling it as mental health, or simply advising your employer you are ‘not well today’, mental health days can make a real difference to how we feel and how we perceive our life.

Here are 5 simple signs you might benefit from a mental health day:

  1. Anxiety

Symptoms of anxiety often start with excessive worrying, or feelings of agitation. Sometimes anxiety is a serious medical concern, and you should consider whether you need to see your doctor. A mental health day can be a great day for making that appointment.

Other times, anxiety is caused by an event or an element of your life that is getting out of control. Perhaps taking one day can help you get back on top of that element, freeing up your mind to be calmer and more productive the next day.

  1. Low energy

Have you been having difficulty sleeping and just need a catch up day to lie in bed? Or perhaps you have been working 7 days a week for a while and just need to reset your batteries.

Sometimes the opposite is true, you’ve been desk bound too long and need a nature walk or a yoga class to reset your energy levels. Using your mental health day in a way that will best help you is personal and you will need to check in with your own body. Starting with a quiet meditation can help clear your head to what you really need.

  1. Loneliness or disconnection from family and friends

It may seem hard to explain to the boss but connections with family and friends are really important to protect ourselves against anxiety and depression. If you have been feeling lonely or disconnected from your loved ones due to work stress or even life occurrences, a mental health day to reconnect might be just what you need.

Try spending the day calling friends you haven’t seen in a while, or catching up for coffee. Maybe you need the whole day off just to make sure you actually get to Friday night drinks with your friends. That’s ok too.

  1. Unusually pessimistic or negative

We all know the last 18 months have been a challenge, and some of us may even have a new bar for what is normal for our mood. If you’ve noticed in the last few weeks that your pessimism or negativity is higher than usual, this could be a sign you would benefit from a mental health day.

Of course, negativity and pessimism, particularly in the form of spiralling thoughts or worthlessness can be a sign of something more serious like depression, so do see your Doctor if the feeling persists. If it’s a recent thing, and you’d like to try and up your positivity with some natural mood boosters, maybe try my Happy Hormone Tips for Spring.

  1. Notable or multiple insignificant physical health issues

It’s not much, but you’ve been having trouble shaking a cold for months, or you keep getting minor mouth ulcers. Maybe it’s your skin condition flaring up repeatedly in a way it never used to or a muscular tightness in your shoulders or body.

Everyone has these issues occasionally, but if your niggles are continuing and the usual solutions aren’t working, consider the possibility that it is stress related and you could use a mental health day. Use it to get a massage for the aches, prepare some nutritious food for the next fortnight, or do whatever it is that you know works for you to drop stress and recharge your batteries.

October 10 is World Mental Health Day, why don’t we all use it as an opportunity to check in with ourselves and see what we really need to support our own mental health?

Depression and anxiety can be serious. Please reach out to your GP if you think you may have undiagnosed depression or anxiety.

If you have been experiencing suicidal thoughts or need to speak to someone urgently, Lifeline is available 24/7 on 13 11 14. You are not alone.