The Importance of Mental Health Days

Image via American Medical Student Association

In our society, a “grind” mentality has become glamorized. It seems that a person can only be successful if they are constantly working and being productive. However, that kind of mentality is unsustainable—it leads to burnout and sometimes serious mental illness or even physical injury. That’s why taking a mental health day every once in a while is so important.

A mental health day is exactly what it sounds like—taking a day to focus on one’s mental health. The specifics of what this day entails are different for every person. One person might take care of their mental health by lying in bed watching TV or reading a book all day. Another person might go for a walk on the beach or complete an intense workout. Others could cook or bake their favorite foods, go to a spa, or indulge in hobbies. It doesn’t matter what it is as long as it is relaxing and makes you happy.

You might think you don’t have time to take a day for yourself. It can be really hard to take a break, especially when it seems like your responsibilities are never-ending. But, if you don’t take that time to check in with yourself and relax, your body will do it for you. I’ve heard this explained with a car metaphor: if your car needs maintenance, but you don’t schedule time to bring it into the shop, the car will do it for you by breaking down. It’s the same with your body and mind—if you don’t take care of them in short, regular intervals, they will reach their breaking points and take you down for much longer.

Don’t let it get to that point. Take a day at least once a month, if not more frequently, to take care of yourself and do the things that make you happy. It’ll prevent burnout and injury and lead you to be more successful and happy in the long run.