HEALTHY LIVING

6 Very Good Reasons To Take A Mental Health Day

Your brain will thank you.

22/06/2016 6:28 AM AEST | Updated June 22, 2016 06:28

Reminder: You are not a robot.

Everyone gets exhausted from working too much -- and you are no exception. That's where a mental health day can come to the rescue.

Research shows that Americans rarely take time off from work, yet there are so many benefits to taking some space from the confines of your cubicle. 

"You can easily get stressed in the workplace, which makes you so exasperated that you can't stand going into the office," Robert London, a New-York based psychiatrist, told The Huffington Post. "You don't really want to quit, you just need a break -- and a mental health day gives you that." 

Below are a few healthy excuses to take a day off just for yourself:

1. It helps with stress.

Long hours coupled with demanding to-do lists are enough to make anyone feel exhausted. Research shows that work is one of the leading causes of stress. Workplace burnout can become a serious issue if it's not addressed properly, which is why London recommends taking a day for yourself if you're feeling overwhelmed or bogged down more than usual.

"If you consistently feel anxious or nervous when you come to work, that's a guide post for needing a mental health day," he says. 

2. You can explore your own neighborhood.

When was the last time you stopped to appreciate the beauty of where you live? With a mental health day, your schedule is cleared for you to do so. You can check out a local fair or spend a few moments in your closest park (Bonus: It'll improve your mood in the process). Whatever you do, make it an adventure. Research shows experiences make you happier.

3. You'll be more productive when you come back.

Breaks are like oxygen for your brain. You're giving your mind a chance to decompress, which research shows can help boost productivity and creativity in the long run. In other words, you're essentially helping your company by taking a day off.

4. You can finally tackle your to-do list.

No, not the one on your desk. Your personal to-do list. Have you been meaning to clean the living room? Try that new lunch joint? Now's the time to do it.

Giving yourself a chance to catch up on personal pleasures will allow you to return to your desk in a better state of mind. "Sometimes you just need that Monday or Wednesday or Friday to unwind," London says.

5. You can get some much-needed Zs.

There are no doubts about it: Sleep is a performance enhancer. One way to get it? A day off.

Experts agree that an ideal workday would start at 10 a.m. so employees can sleep and be at their most productive, but since that's likely not happening anytime soon, a mental health day can help alleviate some of the exhaustion. Take some time to rest -- naps help! -- and return to work wide awake and ready to conquer your tasks.

6. You'll feel refreshed when it's over.

Ultimately, mental health days allow you to unplug from your inbox and refocus -- and that can make you a happier, healthier employee. "Of course mental health days aren't cure-alls," London explains. "But they're a pleasant break and gives you the opportunity to charge your batteries."

Sounds like a good spot to be in. See you on the other side of your out-of-office reply.

We don’t know what you do for a living, but we do know you likely need a break. And, nearly halfway through the year, we’re challenging you (yes — busy, overworked, financially stretched you) to #TakeABreak. During the month of June, we’ll help you nail down how many vacation days you have at your disposal, figure out where to go, and plan a trip you can actually afford. For 30 days of travel tips, cheap flight hacks, vacation ideas and wanderlust galore, sign up for our Take A Break action plan here!

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