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When taking time off for mental health is what’s best

Taking time off for mental health

Illness can leave you feeling miserable. When your mental health is in bad shape, it can have quite a big effect on the rest of your life. You might be lacking focus and energy. Perhaps your aches and discomfort are preventing you from spending any time on a single task, which can lead to depression over a long period if things don’t improve significantly. But when should you say enough is enough and consider taking time off for mental health?

Taking time off for mental health can benefit business

These days, every worker is essential to smoothly running a business. Taking time off can be incredibly disruptive, especially if you’re the boss. But are you really bringing any benefit to the business if you are you sat there worrying and fretting about your ailing health?

You have a few options here. You might choose to persevere, tackling the edges of the little tasks. Does this look good to your co-workers? Putting on a brave face rarely goes down that well with others.

Work from home, at least partially

A second option is to work from home. This isn’t always practical either, but it might take the edge off your exhaustion if you don’t have to deal with the commute.

Speak with your employer as to whether you can work from home one day a week, or even one day a month.

Take a work break

The third option is to take some time off until you are well. There is no way to know how long that may take, or even if it will offer a full recovery. But it does buy you time to address the issues and put a practical plan of action into place.

Speak to your doctor. If you’ve recently had medical treatment for your condition, it’s time to find out why it isn’t working. And if you’re feeling worse, then you might even be looking at a medical malpractice case.

If you’ve done everything that was expected of you, but something has gone wrong, you must find an alternative practitioner quickly so you can start the road to full recovery. After all, your livelihood depends on it, as well as your health and well-being.

When you’re taking time off for mental health

Stress and a lack of sleep can aggravate every kind of illness. If you’re taking the time to rest, then do that. Switch off from work and the other things that are worrying you in life.

Enjoy a massage or two. It gives you a break from problems in life for at least half an hour, depending on the length of your session. Massage gives your body the best chance to rejuvenate too.

5 signs you could use a mental health day

There are several signs that it is time to take a sick day:

  • You’re getting worse, not better
  • Your doctor recommends it
  • Your boss suggests it
  • You’re unable to perform your role as well as before
  • You almost always feel tired

Final words on your well-being

Don’t soldier on if it won’t benefit anyone. A brave face isn’t necessary. Instead, shift your focus and attention to improving your health so you can be back to work and performing well sooner.

Long term health issues should be regularly assessed to ensure they are not worsening. You should have an action plan for coping that prioritizes your well being. Take care.

50 thoughts on “When taking time off for mental health is what’s best”

  1. Love this post of yours. Very encouraging and I 100% agree that it is super important to look after your mental health and to be able to just take the day off or go home early when you’re feeling sick or unwell, mentally or physically.

    Nowadays so many people stick it out at work because they feel expected to be there, carry the team, meet deadlines, and just to simply be brave among their colleagues.

    From that, I thought about the extra burden on employees to obtain a medical certificate when we feel sick and choose to not go to work. I question the necessity of the medical certificate, and thought about individuals who experience mental health issues.

    Check out my website and visit my blog posts, there’s more information there. Thanks again for sharing this insightful post of yours!

    1. Your comment is appreciated, LL. I will look further at your blog. Knowing you encourage others to put their mental well-being first, just as they would their physical health, tells me that we will be fast friends. Talk soon!

  2. Ok….I could be getting on my soapbox now…..
    Having a large family doesn’t help 😩 if one partner is ill,the other half takes over more ,if a child is ill too at the same time then the partner has to take time off work..that’s when it gets problematic…..
    I lost one job from family issues & illnesses & my health …
    Lost another job after an operation,I went back to work & was told I wasn’t needed anymore…
    Where do you draw the line with illnesses & work?
    If you do take time off,work can decide wether you’re a work place liability if you keep taking time off…
    Wether it’s the same over the world but that’s what’s it like here in the UK…

    1. It’s tough for sure and I feel for you, Pete. Your taking the time here means a lot to me. I do hope that MRI comes back with results that prove helpful for you in getting better over the long run xx

  3. The company I work for use to have a program that if an employee had perfect attendance they would be given $100.00 towards a health related product. They finally discontinued it as employees would come to work sick in turn making others sick.

    1. Ohhh I am surprised they encouraged perfect attendance.. everyone gets sick at some point.. take care of yourself when you get sick – at home xx

  4. It is absolutelty correct, sometimes we give more importance to work but we have to relax sometime and spent time with family, friends, nature etc. We have to do some charity work, help poor people. Sometimes we are so much busy in work that we didn’t even notice happiness comes from watching nature, spending time with family, friends, sharing memories etc. My favourite is sharing memories. Sometimes I cry and laugh remembering them. 😊

  5. I fear of taking a sick day because no one in my department seems to take them. It is almost as if who can struggle the most and still come into work! I feel terrible taking them! It’s not right though, you are entitled to take them!

  6. Thank you for your kind words.

    We all have to start somewhere, as creatures of habit it
    can be hard to make these changes. Thankfully this
    type of information (& great bloggers) are spreading
    this new paradigm, & with this expanded consciousness
    slowly builds momentum (just like the anti-cigarette
    campaigns) as we learn, all wavelengths exist at the
    same time, it is just which frequency we choose to dial
    into. So for every vegan eco-warrior, there will be the
    dollar menu devotee. We just have to be ready to help
    when that spark ignites, (which is more & more every day)

    I think having an integrated blog is the best course of action
    because you get to expose people to different avenues on
    the same site! Holistic living is about everything connecting,
    as all these topics are inter-related, variety is the spice of life.

  7. Some great points. It is surprising how little people take
    into account the daily commute as a major stress factor.

    It is bizarre people think they are “getting more” by living
    an hour away from work in a bigger house. When in fact
    many people endure 3 hour daily commutes. 60 hours
    per month sitting in traffic, per year that is a staggering
    720 hours+. Imagine if people spent that time on their
    own small businesses? We were taught to work smarter
    not harder, so when we see people in traffic far more
    interested in their “smart phones” traffic only compounds
    exponentially. Traffic today is only getting worse not better.

    People are spending a month + of their year wasted
    sitting in traffic for what exactly? That is time you could
    be spending with family, friends, a small home business.

    This seditary lifestyle contributes to bad health, not to
    mention the people who eat in their vehicles, & live on
    drive-thru menus because they “don’t have time to eat”

    True wellness & health usually require a total overhaul
    not only physically but mentally, & re-evaluating what
    is truly important in life, money isn’t everything, & there
    is no magic pill that fixes all despite what the ads tell us.

    1. I’m so lucky that my commute is just down the hallway as I work from home ;) Some people I know don’t mind the commute as they like the time to themselves or they use the commute to play audiobooks or listen to podcasts. It really is time that adds up though, as you explain. I like what you say about mentally and physically attaining good health, which isn’t about a quick fix but instead a long-term plan. Excellent to read your reflections today!

    2. Thank you for your insights! We all have little nuggets
      of information to share. Coming from the misunderstood
      generation of Millennials, we have watched our parents &
      grandparents running on the hamster wheel, running
      themselves into the ground & we are not as keen to follow
      suit. It is amazing how quickly something like the tiny home
      movement has proliferated. It makes total sense since a
      person can own their own home fully in a matter of years
      vs decades. We are not as materialistically motivated as
      past generations & we can survive with much less! This
      is both out of necessity & out of personal desire to leave
      a much smaller footprint on this beautiful earth. Living in
      a McMansion in the suburbs with a 3+ hour commute
      personally sounds like the nightmare on Elm Street.

      Finally we are seeing the organic movement & green living
      coming to the forefront. As we know 75% of health is diet &
      exercise. Even the most health conscious person is not
      immune to the bombardment of chemicals & toxins flowing
      through our environment, but we can consciously make small
      decisions that make a bigger impact down the line for us all.

    3. You have such a great writing style! This phrase from your comment in particular stood out: “Living in a McMansion in the suburbs with a 3+ hour commute personally sounds like the nightmare on Elm Street.” –>> Cheers to less materialistic lifestyles and thumbs up to reducing our eco-footprint :) Great comments you write here – and I love green living. I may even start another blog just for that!

  8. Tim Kim @ Tub of Cash

    100% agreed. But like you’ve mentioned in the post, it’s hard to remove yourself from it all, especially when you’re the boss. I haven’t taken a sick day in 8 years for this very reason. And chronic stress is super unhealthy. Case in point, I gained roughly 50lbs, in just 6 months! Sigh..

    1. I’m self-employed and will take some days off.. I hope you do the same.. we have to, otherwise our health can deteriorate and we end up being off longer than if we regularly took a day here or there.. thanks Tim for adding to the conversation!

    1. Big hugs to you. :)

      P.S I posted a song by my favorite band in the world: Nine Inch Nails. Stop by and have a listen. It’s a music video and its crazy weird and I love Trent’s voice. He is a genius.

  9. Thanks Christy, for the lucky few who can do it, working from home can be hugely beneficial for your health and wellbeing. I’ve found avoiding the dreaded commute in particular to be hugely helpful when it comes to decreasing stress and anxiety. Keep up the good work!

    1. Like you, I’m working from home and enjoying the commute only being down a hallway ;) Great you understand the benefits of it xx

  10. Hi Christy…
    I think one of the greatest robbers of peace in the workplace is stress and eventually burnout. I can speak of this with first hand knowledge. That extra load of work which seems to fall into your lap can an will rob you of all you love in life.
    Sadly people fail to see it in themselves. Learn to listen to people who are close to you and do not think you have failed. It is simply time to step back and look after you.
    In my case close to 3 months of endless sleep, journaling and sharing my experience with others and what I see in them has been so rewarding.
    You are so right, if you feel stress and pressure, see your Doctor.


    1. Your mention of taking a step back to assess everything is a good tip, Rolly. Sometimes we’re so caught up in the moment that we don’t even notice we’re getting run down. Hugs!

  11. There is this weird anxiety cycle when it comes to taking time off, and I wonder if it isn’t an American thing. Its hard to explain but it’s almost like taking a day off is a gateway drug. Sure, you start with one mental health day and then what, you SPIRAL OUT OF CONTROL AND END UP UNEMPLOYED AN FOR SOME REASON PREGNANT!

  12. Great read Christy. A lot of people are frightened to take a day off in today’s world, whether it be for a holiday or due to illness (insecurity?, fear of a black mark against them?). Some and I include myself in this, feel/felt guilty for being ill and truly having to take a day off. In hindsight (oh that wonderful thing), if you feel ill, take however much time off required, until you feel better again!

    1. Absolutely take time off – we’ll only be putting off the inevitable of getting even sicker and annoying coworkers by sneezing around them if we go to the office while sick ~ Glad you’re all for taking the allotted sick days :)

    2. In the past, I was guilty of persevering through an illness, my ‘bosses’ always knew if I was off, I was truly ill and I still hated being off, felt guilty for being ill. These days, I think a little differently. “allotted” – can you ‘allott’ ‘sick days’, can you know how many days you are going to be sick? :)

    1. Hmmm regarding the dust mite allergies, you’ll have to cut back on anything in the home that can hold dust, like wool, and anything that isn’t washable (from rugs to furniture upholstery). Old books can be source of aggravation :( Oh use a vacuum with a HEPA filter in it. For hayfever, ginger tea, honey, and garlic are all natural ways to help (not all together though haha)

    2. I think I’ve tried everything. Encasement’s for bedding, HEPA filter vacuum cleaners, leather bound chairs, no carpets etc. But thanks anyway, I appreciate you advice, Christy.

    1. YES! That’s the reason workplaces give people sick days… of course the self-employed don’t get those allotted days automatically so I suggest taking them myself now and then ;)

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