Mental Health Sick Days

Colds, flus, sprained ankles, car accidents.

Bouts of depression, anxiety, breakups, burnout.

Why do employees feel comfortable taking sick days for physical reasons but not for mental health reasons? 

Mental health sick days can alleviate stress and burnout, provide perspective, allow time to re-charge, and prevent future mental health as well as physical health issues (Brunshaw, 2013). A 2007 National Physician survey estimated that the economic cost of mental health issues in Canada amounted to $50 billion dollars each year (Brunshaw, 2013). However, many employees feel guilty for taking this time off, managers may differ in their allowance of mental health days, and few employees are transparent about the reasons behind their day off work (Schultz, 2015).

If you are feeling unable to handle work, having difficulty managing your emotions, or are experiencing signs of anxiety, depression, or burnout - planning a strategic mental health day could be a huge benefit.

When taking a mental health day, it is important to plan out stress-reducing activities which emphasize self-care instead of isolating yourself (Schultz, 2015). Here are some examples:

1. Spending time with family or friends: Laughter, social connections, and a sense of community can help drive the stress away. 

2. Sleep: Re-charge your batteries if you have been losing sleep recently!

3. Talking a walk or doing a workout: Physical activity and fresh air can perk you up. 

4. Indulge yourself: Whether it is giving yourself a bubble bath or massage, pick an activity where you pamper yourself. 

5. Hobbies: Do the things you have been neglecting such as reading a book, playing music, or cleaning out your garage tools. 

Do you take mental health days? Does your workplace support them? What kinds of activities do you do?

 

References:

Brunshaw, J. (January 21, 2013). "Taking a mental health day: The case for staying home from work for your mind". Retrieved from http://news.nationalpost.com/health/taking-a-mental-health-day-making-the-case-for-staying-home-from-work-for-your-mind?__lsa=a8ad-8db1

Schultz, R. (April 17, 2015). "Your Guilt-Free Guide to Taking a Mental Health Day" Retrieved from http://www.shape.com/lifestyle/mind-and-body/your-guilt-free-guide-taking-mental-health-day