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Is It Really OK to Take a Mental Health Day?

By Genevieve Cunningham

Mental health is gaining ground as a mainstream health concern. There was once a time when mental health simply wasn't talked about at all. We didn't talk about seeing therapists. We didn't talk openly about medication. We basically pretended that mental health wasn't a real concern. Thankfully, this idea and attitude toward mental well-being has almost completely turned around. But there's still a little pushback on occasion, especially when it comes to mental health and work. More and more people are using their time off for mental health days -- but should they? People seem to have mixed feelings. If you've been considering taking a day to improve your mental health, take a look at whether it's a good idea or not.

Why It's Frowned Upon

Here's the good news: Taking a mental health day isn't frowned upon as much as it was in the past. Years ago, taking a mental health day would have been a ridiculous concept. In today's world, people are coming around to the idea. When you find someone who still questions it, it's usually for one of a few reasons. First, they don't understand mental health struggles. Second, they haven't yet associated mental health as an actual health struggle. Or third, it's their first introduction to the idea. But don't let this get you down. If you're met with resistance, push forward to get your own needs met. 

Why It's Necessary

So why should we be open to the idea of a mental health day? Because our mental health affects everything else. If you're not mentally well at work, you're not going to be able to focus, and that means your productivity will suffer. It also means that you're more likely to become physically ill, which could then spread to other co-workers. And let's not forget that it's a good idea for your own well-being. It's OK to do what you need to take care of yourself, and that includes taking a day to restore your mental health.

How to Do It Responsibly

Some people are afraid of mental health days because they think people will abuse them. So how do we take mental health days responsibly? We only take days when we need them. We only take days that we have available unless it's a real emergency. We give the proper advance notice, and if we have to use mental health days often, we consider seeing a professional. If we're responsible about taking days for mental health -- or about taking days for anything at all -- we're more likely to foster a positive perception about mental health days as well as our own work performance. 

If you need a day for mental health, take it. It's your health. Your well-being. Your mind. Your future. Take a day to get your emotions and thoughts sorted out. Take a day to breathe and relax. But do it responsibly. With some responsibility, you can take the days you need, improve your mental health, and improve your entire life moving forward.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Van Nuys, Calif.

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