How to Spend a Mental Health Day to Really Rest and Recharge

We hear a lot about workers experiencing burnout and research backs that up. According to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace 2023 Report, 44% of employees said they experienced a lot of stress the previous day. And another recent survey finds that 82% of Gen Z workers want mental health days, noting that burnout and a lack of work-life balance are major reasons they’d quit their job.

Using your PTO to take a vacation would definitely help you come back to the office refreshed, but if you’re too busy or can’t use your paid time off right now, even a single day away from work can feel like a break. The thing is, when you work without taking breaks, you’re busy, but you may not be as productive as you can be. And that’s why a mental health day can help.

How you spend your mental health day matters and this is how to maximize the benefits:

  • Start with your calendar - If your work has slower periods, choose one of those days and you’ll be more likely to actually take it.
  • Check with your team - Ask what your colleagues will need while you’re out and prepare ahead of time so you get fewer calls or emails on your day off.
  • Send a strong out-of-office message - Include the contact information of coworkers that can help answer questions while you’re out.
  • Don’t keep your day wide open - You don’t have to plan every minute of your mental health day, but you won’t feel rejuvenated if you feel like you wasted it binge-watching Netflix.
  • Don’t tackle a to-do list - This isn’t the day for a dentist appointment or taking the car in for maintenance.
  • Know what makes you feel better - Plan activities that get you “lost in the flow,” advises psychologist Kristina Hallet. That could be spending time outdoors, being active or enjoying social connection with friends.
  • If you’re not sure what you’d like to do - Business psychologist Karissa Thacker suggests thinking about the things you’d want to do if you had six months to live, then coming up with a scaled-down version of those things that you could do on a free day.
  • The work will be waiting for you when you get back, so try to make the most of your day so you feel rested and restored.

Source: Today

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