Growing up my mom was very aware of my mental well-being. She often referred to me as her very “spirited” child. I have always worn my emotions on my sleeve and leave little to the imagination when it comes to my thoughts.
I was fortunate enough to have a mother who understood that some days we just need a break. I remember a couple times (of course this was not often) when I would wake up in a terrible mood and she knew I needed to stay home and just relax or go to work with her and not have to interact with other kids all day. Of course, she would call the school and tell them I was sick, even though I was not really “sick”.
As I have gotten older I have struggled with this concept of taking mental health days. I struggle like most people with a feeling of guilt and have found myself stuck with the rule that if I do not have a fever then I must go to work. While I am better at acknowledging my need for mental health days than most, the guilty feeling in the back of my mind needs work.
Today, I am in need of one of these days. I am feeling tried due to not sleeping well, I feel unmotivated and simply want to go back to bed. Of course, I do not have to call in sick to anyone, but I immediately feel guilty because I am not (by definition) sick.
The problem, though, is that sickness should include your mental health. Your mental health should be cared for just as much as the rest of your body. It is important to listen to your instincts and honor what your mind and body are telling you.
By taking necessary mental health days, you are allowing yourself to reset and recharge. You are preventing burn out and acknowledging what you need. This act of love for yourself is more important than having a perfect attendance record. After all, no one wants you at work if you have a bad attitude.
So, today I am taking a mental health day. I am taking care of me and listening to my emotional and mental needs. Remember to take care of yourself before anyone else. If you can respect your own needs you will be better able to respect and provide for the needs of those around you.