Growing up on the farm, I was no stranger to the old saying, “Take time to sharpen the ax.” It is a simple, tactile metaphor that bears repeating to ourselves in the midst of these busy days. We must take time in 2018 for self-care, stress management and our own mental health.
In an opinion article on Forbes.com outlining eight trends that will continue to impact workplaces in 2018, contributor Alan Kohll writes that employers will continue to promote mental wellness and mental health days. As a testament to the work that has been done to breakdown behavioral health stigma, the notion of workplace mental wellness has gone mainstream. This is vital for any organization and a big win for the “84% of employees experiencing physical, psychological or behavioral symptoms of poor mental health.”1
When should you take a mental health day?
Amy Morin, a clinician, author and TEDx presenter, offers several examples of when to take a mental health day.
- When you’re distracted by something you need to address. If you’re behind on your bills and taking a day off to tackle your budget could help you feel as though you’re back in control, it may make sense to take a day to address it so you can reduce your anxiety.
- When you’ve been neglecting yourself. Just like electronic devices need recharging, it’s important to take time to charge your own batteries. A little alone time or an opportunity to practice some self-care can help you perform better.
- When you need to attend appointments to care for your mental health. Whether you need to see your doctor to get your medication adjusted or you need to schedule an appointment with your therapist, taking a day off to address your mental health needs is instrumental in helping you be at your best.2
If you need ideas about how to spend a portion of the day, a quick Google search will give you countless suggestions on how to best spend your mental health day. But your body, mind and common sense will tell you what you need – it could be walking in nature, meeting a friend or investing in a side project.
As I tell our staff here at StarkMHAR, if you don’t have the time, work with your supervisor to make the time. Look at your calendar and pencil in when you think you’ll need to take your mental health day(s) in 2018.
After all, there isn’t a CEO or a farmer out there who prefers a dulled ax.
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