Woman working at laptop computer - stressed - burned out - mental health day

And Timely Mental Health Day Activity Suggestions

Mental health is a crucial component of overall health. Indeed, caring for our mental well-being is just as essential as caring for our physical health. However, in today’s fast-paced world, people often neglect their mental health and push themselves to the limit. Sometimes, taking a break from the daily routine and prioritizing self-care is necessary. This article will discuss ten signs indicating you need to take a mental health day.

Emma’s Mental Health Story

Emma juggled many responsibilities. She had a demanding job, a husband, two kids, and a home to care for. Overwhelming? Clearly an understatement.

One morning, she realized she couldn’t face another day like this. She knew she’d burn out entirely if she didn’t take a mental health day soon. So, she decided to call in sick to work and take a self-care day.

We’ll talk more about Emma’s self-care day later, but first, let’s evaluate some signs and symptoms that could indicate that you, too, need to take a break!

10 Signs You Need A Mental Health Day

1. You Feel Exhausted And Burned Out

One of the most common signs you need to take a mental health day is feeling exhausted and burned out (1) . Exhaustion and burnout can affect your productivity and performance. 

You can’t take care of anyone else unless you first take care of yourself.

Michael Hyatt, Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want

So, taking care of yourself before it’s too late is essential. If you’re constantly tired, even after a good night’s sleep, it’s time to take a break!

2. You’re Irritable And Short-Tempered

Another sign that indicates you need to take a mental health day is if you’re feeling irritable and short-tempered. Irritability and a short temper can affect your relationships with others and cause unnecessary conflicts. If you snap at others or get angry over small things, it’s a sign that you need to take a break and recharge your batteries.

3. You’re Having Trouble Sleeping

Difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up too early can all be red flags that you must take a mental health day. Lack of sleep can affect your mood, memory, and overall health. It’s essential to prioritize your sleep and take a break if you’re having trouble getting enough rest.

4. You’re Feeling Anxious Or Depressed

Anxiety and depression are common mental health issues that can affect anyone anytime. If you’re feeling anxious or depressed, you must take a mental health day and prioritize your well-being. But please remember — if your mental health days aren’t relieving anxiety or depression, it’s time to seek professional help.

5. You’re Making Mistakes, Or You’re Forgetful

Are you making more mistakes than usual? Is forgetfulness becoming problematic? These signs indicate the need for a mental health day. Stress and exhaustion can affect your memory and cognitive abilities (2). Taking a break and recharging your batteries at this point is essential.

6. You’re Feeling Overwhelmed And Stressed

Chronic stress can lead to long-term health issues, so taking care of yourself is essential. Feeling overwhelmed and stressed is a common sign that a mental health day is warranted. If you have too much on your plate, it’s time to take a break and prioritize your mental well-being.

7. You Have Physical Symptoms

Physical symptoms such as headaches, stomachaches, and muscle tension can all show that you need a mental health day. You might also notice increased blood pressure or heartrate and more. Stress and anxiety can manifest in many physical symptoms (2), and taking a break and prioritizing self-care is crucial.

8. You’re Having Trouble Focusing

If you’re having trouble focusing on tasks or finding it difficult to concentrate, it’s a red flag to take a mental health day. Lack of focus and concentration can affect your productivity and performance. Schedule a mental health day before poor performance results in adverse outcomes!

9. You’re Feeling Disconnected From Others

Feeling disconnected from others (3) can signal that you must take a mental health day. Suppose you’re finding it difficult to connect with loved ones or feeling isolated. In that case, taking a break and prioritizing your mental well-being is paramount. Social support is crucial for mental health, and seeking help is essential if you’re struggling.

10. You’re Not Enjoying The Things You Used To Enjoy

If you’re not enjoying the things you used to, it’s a sign that you need to take a mental health day. Loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed can be a symptom of depression or burnout. Taking a break and prioritizing self-care is vital to avoid further decline in your mental health.

Now, let’s take some tips from Emma’s mental health day!

Woman getting a massage at a spa - mental health day
Photo by Arina Krasnikova

Emma’s Mental Health Day

Emma started her day with a yoga session, which helped her to relax and clear her mind. Then, she went for a long walk in the park and enjoyed nature’s beauty. She listened to her favorite music and felt the sun’s warmth on her face.

After her walk, Emma went to her favorite coffee shop and ordered a latte and a croissant. She sat down and read a book for an hour, immersing herself in the story and forgetting about her worries for a while.

In the afternoon, Emma went to a spa for a massage and a facial. She let them pamper her as she enjoyed the resort’s peaceful atmosphere.

By the end of the day, Emma felt like a new person. She had taken a break from her responsibilities and given herself the care and attention she needed. She returned home feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready to take on the challenges of her life with a renewed sense of energy and purpose.

Emma consciously scheduled regular mental health days from that day on. She found that she could better care for those around her by caring for herself first. She learned to say no to unnecessary obligations, delegate tasks to others, and ask for help when needed.

Woman enjoying nature in a field of flowers - Mental Health Day
Photo by Maksim Goncharenok

Mental Health Recap!

Mental health is as important as physical health. Recognizing the signs indicating we need a mental health day and prioritizing self-care is essential. If you’re experiencing any of these ten signs…

  1. Exhaustion
  2. Irritability
  3. Trouble sleeping
  4. Anxiety or depression
  5. Making mistakes
  6. Feeling overwhelmed
  7. Having physical symptoms
  8. Trouble focusing
  9. Feeling disconnected from others
  10. Not enjoying the things you used to enjoy

…it’s time to take a break and prioritize your mental well-being. Remember, self-care is not selfish; it’s necessary. So, take a day off, do something you enjoy, and recharge your batteries. Your family, friends, and co-workers will thank you for it.

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Works Cited

1.      Maslach C, Leiter MP. Understanding the burnout experience: recent research and its implications for psychiatry. World Psychiatry Off J World Psychiatr Assoc WPA. 2016 Jun;15(2):103–11.

2.      Yaribeygi H, Panahi Y, Sahraei H, Johnston TP, Sahebkar A. The impact of stress on body function: A review. EXCLI J. 2017 Jul 21;16:1057–72.

3.      Osler L. “An illness of isolation, a disease of disconnection”: Depression and the erosion of we-experiences. Front Psychol [Internet]. 2022;13. Available from: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2022.928186


The medical information in this article, on our website and all our social media sites, is provided as an information resource and is not to be used or relied on for diagnostic or treatment purposes. Please consult your healthcare provider before making wellness decisions or for guidance about a specific medical condition. 

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