It's meant to provide you with a much-needed break to pause from your life, rejuvenate your soul and refocus your energy. (Read: a magical day of staying in your pajamas and watching Netflix.)
All joking aside, a mental health day can be whatever you want it to be.
What it shouldn't be is a day when you halfheartedly text your boss and say you're sick and then crawl under the covers, not looking at your phone and feeling guilty for even texting in the first place.
You should never feel guilty about taking a mental health day.
So, here's how to do this thing right:
How to take a successful mental health day
Taking a day off is easy when you have a 102-degree fever, but it's harder when your symptoms aren't as visible as the flu.
The goal of a mental health day is to catch yourself before you need to take an emergency mental health day.
This way, you're able to schedule a day off ahead of time and rearrange your work so your day is just that: totally yours and obligation-free.
This is the best way to take a mental health day without feeling guilty.
Of course, there are days when you feel completely burned out and just know you can't handle the day at work.
This is the time to take that mental health day and focus on relieving stress.
There are many signs you're in need of a mental health day. You might be physically exhausted, sleep-deprived or mentally overwhelmed.
Here are other signs you know it's time for a day off.
Decide what to do (or not do)
You'll know what you need the most on your mental health day. No one else can tell you what would be best for you.
Some things you might consider doing include taking a bath, spending time with a friend or having a movie marathon.
Other things such as yoga or getting a massage can help immensely. Maybe you just want to clean your apartment or take your dog to the park.
The choice is yours!
Of course, working relaxation into your everyday schedule can help with effective and lasting stress relief.
Make this your goal every day so you don't get burned out on a regular basis. You can make conscious choices to improve your mental health daily.
Take this day to think about what needs to change in your life and work routine to help prevent burnout.
Think about things that impact your stress levels. Consider your priorities. Focus on increasing your job satisfaction.
Or, you know, just eat chocolate on the couch!
When one day is not enough
When your mental health day doesn't serve to recharge you — or only does so briefly — it's important to know when something else is going on.
When burnout turns into depression or anxiety, it's time to seek help.
An emergency mental health day is fine, but if this becomes a regular thing, something else may be going on.
Know when one day isn't enough and when to seek help.
Managing your stress is so important.
You can do this whole adulting thing right by taking proper care of yourself. No matter what's going on in work, life or school, you should be your top priority.
So, take that mental health day, and don't you dare feel bad about it.