Roy Gilbert

How Often You Should Take a Mental Health Day, According to a Psychologist

Mental health breaks from work

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We all could use a good, restorative mental health day every so often, but navigating how or when to take much-needed time off can be a challenge.

Taking a mental health day, long vacation, or sabbatical sounds like a wonderful idea in theory, but many office workers tend to forgo quality self-care time. Some blame it on a jam-packed schedule, while others say it’s frowned upon in their office.

“Employees may be less likely to take advantage of mental health days due to the perceived stigma associated with mental health,” said Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) member Dr. Kevin Chapman , who specializes in cognitive behavioral therapy for anxiety and other disorders, in an email to Travel + Leisure . “Employees may fear being inappropriately labeled by an employer or their colleagues as weak, ‘crazy,’ or inferior.”

While the amount of employers offering mental health care and mental health days is increasing, the social stigma and long-held belief that mental health is less important than physical health endures. “The irony is that there is overwhelming empirical data to suggest that mental and physical health are intricately related and usually bidirectional,” said Dr. Chapman.

Dr. Chapman noted that the effects of stress can lead to high levels of cortisol, a stress fighting hormone, which can manifest as headaches, sleep disturbances, and even panic attacks. In attempting to relieve stress, Dr. Chapman said, workers often resort to procrastination for temporary relief. This tactic, however, is prone to backfiring.“Mental […]

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