The Benefits of Taking a Mental Health Day

By: Jayson Tripp, MD


While everyone gets stressed from time to time, working under the pressure of constant anxiety has negative long-term effects on your mental health. Taking a mental health day every so often gives your mind and body a much-needed break. Though some may see it as impractical or even selfish to take a day off to focus on yourself, a mental health day can help to reduce stress, improve mood, and prevent burnout. It’s an opportunity to take a breath so that you can return to your normal schedule with more energy and less tension. Read on to learn more about the benefits of taking a day off to prioritize your mental health.

Rest and Recharge

Sleep is essential to mental performance and mental health, but we often get behind on our sleep schedule when inundated with tasks and mental health problems. Mental health days allow you a chance to catch up on neglected sleep, helping you to feel energized and recharged so that you can feel more prepared to return to your everyday tasks.

Practice Self-Care

It’s important to recognize when you are overwhelmed and exhausted. Use this day to truly treat yourself, whether that means going all out with your self-care routine or indulging in a favorite hobby. A day off to practice self-care by taking care of yourself and doing things you enjoy will help to give you a better chance of success.

Catch Up on Your To-Do List

This benefit doesn’t refer to your regular work or school agenda; instead, use this time to catch up on your personal to-do list. Tasks such as cleaning out the fridge or grocery shopping are often shoved to the side in the bustle of our daily schedules, which can cause anxiety to spike even further. You can use your day off to complete these overlooked tasks and alleviate a bit of that pent-up stress. Your list can also include to-dos beyond household chores, such as finally checking out that new restaurant down the street or sitting down to watch a movie you’ve been looking forward to.

Increase Productivity

Overworking yourself may feel like you’re being productive, but when you become so exhausted that you experience burnout your productivity in both your professional and personal life becomes precarious. By giving yourself a day to decompress you can return to your normal routine with more focus and motivation.

Reconnect With What You Love

When you get caught up in the worries of work, school, and life in general, it’s difficult to make time for the people and activities that you love. A mental health day gives you the chance to temporarily remove yourself from the tasks that are negatively contributing to your mental health as you reconnect with what you enjoy.

How to Have an Effective Mental Health Day:

  • Engage in light exercise (talk a walk, practice yoga, meditate, or go for a swim)
  • Take a nap
  • Connect with family and friends
  • Read a book
  • Run some errands
  • Cook a healthy meal
  • Do something nice for yourself

The point of taking a mental health day is to dedicate your time to things that bring you joy and peace.  You aren’t required to do anything that makes you uncomfortable. The ideal mental health day for you may include a list of productive tasks, or you could choose to kick back and relax for a few hours. Your day can comprise of whatever activities you want, so long as you enjoy yourself and focus on recovering from stress and anxiety.

A mental health day is not a guaranteed cure for anxiety, depression, or other mental health symptoms, especially if you have been diagnosed with a mental illness, but it can help you to take a step back and manage your symptoms away from the demanding obligations of everyday life. If you start to feel like you need a mental health day every day, it may be time to reach out for help. Contact us at Serenity Health Centers to schedule an appointment with one of our licensed psychiatrists in your area.

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*All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.