Do Mental Health Days Actually Work?

You’re feeling burned out and emotionally drained and can’t handle another full week at “the office”. The usual days off, be it the weekend or other normal break in your schedule aren’t cutting it. Consequently, you’re thinking about taking a mental health day or two from work. Workplace policy allows it, and you’ve seen other staff take advantage of the allowance, but as someone who traditionally doesn’t put yourself “out there” with HR you’re a little on the fence. So before you put in the request you’ve come online to ask; do mental health days work? It depends.

What Individuals Need to Do to Ensure that their Mental Health Days Off from Work Make a Positive Difference

I. Avoid These Activities on Your Mental Health Day

Engaging in Certain Types of Online Content

Many people use their mental health days to do things that they think makes them feel good, when in reality their mind is playing a trick on them. Certain activities in this category will be obvious to you, such as alcohol and substance use, or binging on unhealthy food. You know that these all come with material consequences at the end of the day. Other activities that you need to be more mindful of are those that millions of Americans have a problematic relationship with. While you’re engaged, these activities create a sense of euphoria and seem harmless on the surface, when in reality they can be ruinous to the mental wellbeing of vulnerable individuals. These activities include online gaming, gambling, and consumption of pornography.

Online gaming and gambling (sports betting and casino) and/or watching porn all release a “feel good” chemical in our brain called dopamine. Dopamine is partly responsible for the elevated emotions experienced when engaged in said activities, and why individuals turn to them when they need to be distracted from day to day responsibilities that cause anxiety and stress. At best, each of the activities provides nothing more than a fleeting distraction for the average person. But for millions of vulnerable people participation can send them deeper into a well of despair.

How are you to know if you’re vulnerable to, or already have a problematic relationship with online gaming, gambling, and/or porn? Kindbridge Behavioral Health has provided a number of resources to help you answer that question.

Problem Gaming

Problem Gambling

Problematic Porn Use

We also encourage you to take quick tests to see if you suffer from stress (click here), anxiety (click here), or depression (click here). These, among other mental health concerns, are known to cooccur with problematic gaming, gambling, and hypersexuality. In completing the respective questionnaires you may discover an underlying concern that led to your need for a mental health day. From there, you can get the required help (more on this below).

Note: We understand that a far greater number of Americans can game, gamble, and consume porn without a problem, but remember – these are temporary distractions that don’t get to the core of why you need a break from work.

The Problem with the Sofa

What if you’re not interested in spending your mental health day engaged in any of activities above? What if the plan for your break is to do nothing but sit on the sofa with a cup of tea or hot cocoa? An extra hour or two wrapped in a literal or proverbial blanket is certainly fine, but that’s about it. While it may sound comforting, all it does is press pause on whatever is going on internally, returning you to work a day or so later to jump back on the hamster wheel. You’ll probably feel the need for another mental health break in a month or week if not the very day you returned to the rat race. Instead, it’s important to address what prompted your need for a day off. Please keep reading.

II. Take the Opportunity to Work…on YOU

Use your day/s off not to distract from your current state of mental health, but to zero in on it and make a positive and sustainable change. To achieve sustainability, you need to initiate a self-care strategy that includes the insights of a mental health professional. However, with only a short break to start your self-care program, you don’t have the time to find a physical clinic in your area. Nor do you have the time (or patience) to verify that a clinic has the size and diversity of staff to ensure there’s a therapist who is a good fit for you. So what are you to do? This is what Kindbridge Behavioral Health is here for.

Kindbridge offers powerful counseling and therapy services in a welcoming online environment. Our therapists have specialized training to account for all of the mental/behavioral health concerns addressed above, but are also on standby to lend an ear (and voice) for anything that is adding to your mental health burden. Furthermore, we offer affordable individual and group therapy options to keep you from working overtime to cover the investment in your mental health.

Do mental health days work? They do if you put in the work! Reach out to Kindbridge today for a FREE initial consultation with one of our care coordinators.

Make a Positive Change to Your Mental Health

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