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Normalizing Mental Health Days

Updated: Nov 8, 2021

Sick days. If you have, or have had a full time job, you are aware of sick days. Typically they accrue over the course of your time working. At some point in your days of working, you'll come down with a cold, or a fever, or maybe you were unfortunate enough to get sick with the COVID. Humans get sick, it happens. And you wouldn't think twice about taking a day off if you were ill - for a few reasons. You may need to visit your doctor or hospital, you need to rest to get yourself back up to full functioning ability, and you don't want to risk passing whatever funk you have on to your co-workers.

Why, then, if we are struggling with our mental health - do we put our work first and our mental state in the back seat?

You're no good to your teammates and your employer if you are sick.

How can you possibly be good to your teammates and your employer if you are struggling mentally?

I'm not saying to take off a week because you're feeling sad all of a sudden. Nor am I saying to abuse the system that is in place to accommodate your mood for the day. We all have bad days, and that's fine. We need to be emotionally literate enough to recognize when our cup is empty, and needs some refilling. This phrase has been used before, and it's one of my favorites - "you can't fill from an empty cup."

When we are mindful of our emotions and able to recognize times in our life that we are feeling mentally stretched so thin we're about to break, we need to take that moment to pause and re-load.

We need to be honest with ourselves, too. Am I REALLY struggling mentally, or do I just not feel like going to work today? Nobody ever really FEELS like going to work, let's be real for a second. But if you are in tune with yourself and know that you truly are struggling and need to take a day off, you should do it. And employers should accept that. What good is an employee who's mind is elsewhere? It can be potentially dangerous too - if you have a high stress job - say in healthcare, or EMT services, welding / construction, you could be putting more than just yourself at risk if you attempt to push yourself too hard.

If you feel like this may be you, but you need some help navigating your mental health, we're here to help. That's what we do here at HeartHead.

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