Take More Mental Health Days
By Grant Stenzel, MS Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor
In June 2017, a woman emailed her office and said she was taking a couple days to focus on her mental health. The CEO was so understanding and encouraging in his email response that it immediately went viral.
Our culture rewards relentless work ethic at the expense of mental health and self care. But as you might know, God made a famous top 10 list back in the day. And one of them, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy,” is a literal command to rest. You should take the command seriously.
Mental health days reduce stress.
Whether you have a ton going on at the office or you don’t have a minute to yourself at home, studies have proven that work is one of the leading reasons for stress. It makes sense. There’s a non-stop flow of items on your task list and emails in your inbox, and it can be overwhelming.
But stepping away from it all, even for a day, does wonders.
Mental health days remind you that you’re important.
Many of us excel at giving grace to others but struggle with giving grace to ourselves. It’s okay to acknowledge that you’re overwhelmed. It’s okay to give yourself a break. When you return, you’ll be stronger and healthier.
Mental health days remind you that you’re not as important as you think.
As the owner of Stenzel Clinical, I’ve come to realize my presence in the office often isn’t as essential as I think it is. Quite frankly, thanks to our incredible roster of therapists and administrative staff, this place probably functions better when I’m not around. The fact is, mental health days were made for people who think their home or office will burn to the ground if they’re not there. And besides:
Mental health days boost your productivity.
With a refreshed brain and a healthy drive to catch up on the time you missed, your productivity and efficiency will skyrocket after your mental health day. A month or two later, once you feel yourself crashing back down to earth, it might be a sign another day is needed in the near future.
Mental health days (when done right) can change your life.
There’s nothing wrong with screen time or a comfy mattress, but that’s not how you should exclusively spend your rejuvenation day. I recommend getting out in nature, or tying your running shoes and exploring a new nook of your town. Even better, doing those things with your partner or kids can be a great way for you to connect with them and have some future-shaping conversations.
As you go about your day, reflect on your life and what you want when your story is completely written. How will you feel fulfilled with the life you lived? What currently fulfills you? How can you get more of it? Whatever the answer is, pursue it.