5 Signs You Need To Take A Mental Health Day

Have you ever found yourself grappling with an overwhelming sense of stress? Juggling work, errands, and perhaps taking care of family or pets, all while neglecting your own well-being can be quite demanding. Often, self-care takes a backseat, if it even fits into the equation. On the flip side, you might be experiencing a sense of underwhelming, lacking motivation even when faced with numerous tasks, and feeling bored with your routine. In either scenario, it could be an indication that it’s time for a ‘you’ day, commonly referred to as a “mental health day.”

While taking sick days for physical health is widely accepted, the concept of taking time off for mental health is more ambiguous. Despite many companies having policies for mental health or personal days, the decision to take time off for a mental break can be daunting. There might be feelings of guilt or hesitation, perhaps due to concerns about using precious paid time off (PTO) days, leading individuals to push themselves to show up despite their need for a break.

It’s important to note that I don’t advocate for the belief that mental health can be adequately addressed in a single day. Moreover, waiting until you’re on the verge of burnout is not advisable. However, amidst the busyness of daily life, it’s easy to overlook the signs that indicate you need a break. By the time you realize it, fatigue has set in, burnout may be looming, and a break becomes a pressing necessity.

Recognizing when it’s time to prioritize your mental well-being and take a day for rest is crucial for maintaining a healthy body and mind, both within and beyond the confines of the workplace.

Still don’t understand? Here are 5 crucial signs you need to take a mental health day;

1. You’re More Irritable Than Usual

culled from whitney gordon mead

Do you find that the behavior of those around you is triggering heightened reactions more frequently? If you’re experiencing increased irritability or sensitivity, feeling consistently crabby or on edge, it might be a valid reason to consider taking a mental health day. Taking some time alone to rest and relax could be the necessary remedy to alleviate irritability and create a more balanced state of mind.

2. You’re Feeling Overwhelmed With Work

When the demands of work become all-encompassing, to the point where it feels like your thoughts are constantly tethered to the office, it serves as a clear signal that a mental health day is necessary. The inability to divert your focus from work-related matters can be a precursor to burnout. This persistent preoccupation not only affects your immediate well-being but can also have long-term consequences on your mental health.

Taking a mental health day in such circumstances is a proactive measure to prevent burnout, which is characterized by chronic physical and emotional exhaustion, detachment, and a reduced sense of accomplishment. Stepping away from work for a brief period allows you to recharge and regain perspective, fostering a healthier mindset and preventing the negative impact of prolonged stress.

3. Your Anxiety Levels Are High 

Although some people might view experiencing anxiety as a normal occurrence, heightened anxiety levels warrant serious consideration and may necessitate taking a day or two off from work. The manifestations of anxiety can vary widely among individuals, with common symptoms encompassing feelings of nausea, shortness of breath, sweating, and restlessness. 

In more severe cases, these symptoms may escalate into a panic attack, necessitating professional intervention from a medical expert like a psychologist. In essence, paying attention to the signals from your mind and body is crucial, as they might indicate the need for a break to address and alleviate heightened anxiety levels.

4. You’re Feeling Distant From Others

Feeling a growing sense of distance from your job and colleagues, even when you generally enjoy your work and have positive relationships with your co-workers, can be a perplexing experience. This emotional disconnection, especially when there’s no clear and identifiable reason for it, might be an early indicator that something is not quite right.

Taking a mental health day in such circumstances becomes a strategic move to interrupt this pattern and address potential sources of stress or dissatisfaction. It provides an opportunity to step back, reflect, and gain insights into the underlying factors contributing to this emotional distance. Whether it’s mounting work pressure, personal challenges, or other stressors, a day away can offer a valuable perspective and a chance to reevaluate priorities.

5. You Feel Sick More Often

culled from Keck Medicine of USC

The interconnected nature of our body systems means that our mental health significantly influences our overall well-being. If you find yourself unable to fully recover from sickness, it might be an indication that it’s time to prioritize your mental health by taking a mental health day.

Recurrent illnesses, such as a lingering cold that persists week after week, could be your body’s way of signaling the need for rest. Even if the symptoms don’t seem severe enough to warrant a traditional sick day, a mental health day could be precisely what you require to facilitate recovery.


Allocating days for your mental health serves as a valuable opportunity to unwind, reset, and experience an overall sense of well-being. The importance of a day free from meetings, deadlines, and stress should not be underestimated, as it allows you to recharge both mentally and emotionally. However, it’s crucial to recognize that in certain situations, a few days of rest may not be sufficient.

If you find yourself persistently struggling or if the challenges you face seem insurmountable, it’s essential not to hesitate to seek help from a mental health expert. Professional guidance and support can provide you with the tools and resources needed to address underlying issues and develop effective coping strategies. Taking proactive steps toward mental well-being is a commendable approach, and reaching out to an expert ensures that you receive the necessary assistance to navigate and overcome challenges.