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Reasons to Take a Mental Health Day

Sometimes we need to take a break to better excel in our careers, feel better about ourselves, and just generally enjoy life.

Man reading under a tree, why take a mental health day

Are thoughts of email chains, deadlines, and other work responsibilities constantly flooding your mind? Do have a never-ending to-do list that seems to get longer and longer each week? Are you feeling so completely burned out by the time the weekend hits that you don’t feel like doing anything other than streaming tv shows from your bed? If so, you may be in desperate need of a mental health day.

It’s no coincidence that recent studies show that only 17% of Americans are functioning at optimal mental health, and in 2017, nearly 52% of American employees reported having unused vacation days at the end of the year. Your mental health is just as, if not even more so, important than your physical health. And taking a day off to tend to its needs is something we all need to do more often. Here are 5 reasons why you should take a mental health day:

Your stress levels will plummet

You’ve heard that stress is bad for you. But do you know what exactly stress can do to you? Chronically high stress levels not only increase your risk for autoimmune diseases, digestive problems, heart disease, skin conditions, and pain, but also mental issues like depression, anxiety, mood problems, poor judgment, memory issues, and the inability to concentrate.

Considering that mouthful of ailments, if you’re feeling particularly stressed, take a day off to play with your dog, do some yoga, practice deep breathing, go on a refreshing walk, or do whatever else that allows you to shed some of that stress and pressure off your shoulders. 

Related: 5 Reasons Why You Need to Recharge on a Regular Basis

You can get your beauty sleep

As important as sleep is for our bodies, it’s ironic that so many of us aren’t getting enough of it. In fact, 1 in 3 Americans aren’t getting enough sleep. Whether caused by stress-induced insomnia, or from sending one last email to your boss at midnight, lack of sleep can increase your risk for a variety of problems including, weakened immunity, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.

So, if you find yourself nodding off at your desk—or worse—during important meetings, you might want to take a day off and sleep to your heart’s content. Your whole body will thank you for it!     

You can check items off your to-do list

We all have items on our to-do lists that never seem to get that satisfying check mark by them. Whether those items include getting a massage, creating a budget, or even getting that root canal your dentist said you needed two years ago, taking a mental health day may help lessen your load and strengthen your focus at work.   

You’ll be more productive when you go back to work

Our minds aren’t meant to be constantly pushed to the limit. Studies actually show that when you give your mind a break, you can actually boost your productivity and creativity later on—meaning that taking an occasional day off may be the best thing you can do for your own job performance and for your company. 

Related: Vacation on a Budget: Ideas for a Staycation

You’ll reconnect with the important things in life

When you are overworked and overstressed, sometimes the most important parts of your life start slipping between the cracks. You can become disconnected from the things that really matter, especially your relationships, your hobbies, and much needed “me” time. Taking a mental health day can help you reconnect to your friends and family, give your motivation and sense of purpose a boost, and help you find joy in the little things that make life great.  

You deserve to feel well. But if your mental health is at risk, or if someone you know is at risk, seek help.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

24-hours/day: 800-273-TALK (8255)


If you need help finding a doctor, our Member Advocates can help. They can help you find the right doctor and make an appointment. Reach our Member Advocates at 800-515-2220.


SelectHealth may link to other websites for your convenience. SelectHealth does not expressly or implicitly recommend or endorse the views, opinions, specific services, or products referenced at other websites linked to the SelectHealth site, unless explicitly stated.

The content presented here is for your information only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, and it should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns.

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Post Author

Chakell Wardleigh
Chakell has a B.A. in English and is a magazine editor. She enjoys exercising, laughing with family and friends, and online shopping. She strives to be as versatile as cauliflower, which she often turns into pizza.