Take this as a much-needed PSA: sick days are for more than just being sick. Because when it comes to self-care, it’s never, ever, selfish. And sometimes, we just need a dang break from that work grind.
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A break from the meetings, emails, and spreadsheets. A break from repeatedly hearing “happy *insert day of the week” at the start of every office conversation. A break from saying “you’re on mute, Greg,” or “nope, Greg, you’re still on mute,” or “yup, we can hear you now, GREG.”
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We all have a Greg, and you know who you are…
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The point is, if you’re feeling burnt out, anxious, extra irritable, or just super tired – a mental health day (or three) might be just what the doctor ordered. When done right, mental health days are an opportunity to de-stress, unwind, relax, recharge, reset, and reflect.
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Luckily, the behavioral health team at Virtua Health put together these quick tips for doing a mental health day right. Spoiler alert: it does NOT involve continuously checking your email.
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1. The art of unplugging
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Far too often, we take a day off from work but still continue to check emails, respond to messages, and routinely chat with our co-workers. Pro tip: STOP IT. The next time you take a mental health day, completely unplug from work-related communications.
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We know that unplugging from work can be tough. Next time, try turning off your notifications, unplugging your computer, and even telling your work bestie to ignore you on your day off.”
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2. Call it a date
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If you can, plan your mental health day ahead of time. This is beneficial for a few reasons. For starters, it gives you time to plan activities, big or small. Plus, it gives you something to look forward to – knowing you have a day off could really transform the work week.
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3. You do you, friend.
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Start by recognizing that this is YOUR day, and you can spend it doing anything that you want. If that means burrito’d up on the couch, binging reality TV while flipping through TikTok dance videos, do it. If that means going on a hike and connecting with nature, all the power to you. The point is, it’s a day to heal and be happy.
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4. Make a to-do NOT list
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Mental health days are not for laundry, oil changes, grocery shopping, de-cluttering, or organizing (unless, of course, that’s therapeutic to you). In fact, go a step further by putting these activities on a list and vowing to ignore each and every one of them.
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5. Make it a habit
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Start by making mental health days a routine part of your work-life balance. Most people take a mental health day when their exhaustion, frustration, and anxiety have reached a breaking point. It’s essential to proactively care for your mental health. That means prioritizing your emotional well-being, actively planning days to restore, recharge, and doing what makes you whole.
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At the end of the day, you’re not defined by the hours you log or the spreadsheets you build. Life is far too fantastic to be spent buried beneath emails or confined to office chairs. It’s about balance and being your best, happiest self. Now go put in that mental health day request – you deserve it!
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For more tips about health and wellness, connect with our friends at Virtua Health. They’re South Jersey’s largest health network, and they’re on a mission to help you be well, get well, and stay well.
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