When Should You Take A Mental Health Day Off Work?


With today’s demanding work environment, the stress and pressure seems to be higher than ever. Nearly everyone at some point in their career experiences periods where it becomes too much to deal with. If exhausting days have been a regular occurrence for some period of time, then it may be a sign that you need to take a mental health break. While you know deep down that you may really need a day or two to catch your breath, it can be difficult to allow yourself to give yourself that time. So how do you know that your feelings warrant time off a mental health break - beyond a standard vacation? Try asking yourself these 5 questions.

1. Do You Dread Going Into Work?

If the thought of walking into your office makes you feel frozen with anxiety, fear, or sadness, you might need to take some time off to think about your situation. Try using a mental health break to contemplate changes you can make or speak to a counselor about what could make your workday more tolerable, whether that’s making a small adjustment or a big career move.

2. Do You Struggle To Focus?

Physically you may be at work, but your mind never is. If you struggle to concentrate during meetings and complete your responsibilities on time, it could be an indication that you’re more than just bored. If you cannot focus during your job, your quality of work will suffer which could lead you down a path that you don’t want to go down. By allowing yourself to take a day or two to recalibrate yourself, you may help yourself be more productive when you return back to work refreshed.

3. Have Coworkers or Management Suggested Taking Time Off?

If upper management, or even peers have suggested you take some time off, it may be best to take that advice. Sometimes it’s easier for others to see the need for our own self care, then ourselves. Even if you feel like you have something to prove, it’s better to take time to care for your health than push yourself too far and make big mistakes. A talk therapist can help you assess the best path in a situation like this and help you refocus yourself so you can return to work fully refreshed.

4. Is Your Physical Health Suffering?

If you have been feeling anxious, depressed, or stressed at work for a prolonged period of time, your body is most likely feeling it. Chronic stress can wreak havoc on your health, both physically and mentally. If you find that constant tension is leaving your muscles sore and your head pounding, take a few days to rest, and perhaps consult a doctor about finding some relief.

5. Is Your Home Life Being Impacted?

Have you and your family members or partner been fighting more frequently. It’s very common for stress at work to transfer to conflicts at home. You deserve to enjoy your time with your loved ones. Taking a few days to sort out your priorities and can help you determine how to adjust your work life to make your home life better.