Very Necessary: Why You Should Take (Guilt-Free) Mental Health Days

African American Black woman relaxing with cup of tea and book

I’m not sure about you, but I constantly feel as though my life is moving at a super frantic pace. Being a mom, daughter and significant other can be a lot to balance. And with 24-7 access to technology, it makes it difficult to disconnect and relax. You may feel burned out, too! But, I have a solution to help you reenergize!

I spoke with two psychologists to get their insights on why taking a mental health day does wonders for your spirit and state of mind.

Meet psychologists, Kimberly Williams and Dr. Paul Coleman. Williams is a Clinical Neuropsychologist and Psychologist in New York. She is the Founder and Co-President of LIPAC. Dr. Coleman, a Psychologist for over 30 years, is an author of numerous self-help books and has appeared on Oprah and Today. His most recent book is Finding Peace When Your Heart Is in Pieces. Why is a mental health day (MHD) beneficial?

Williams: Ironically, I’m a psychologist who just took a MHD yesterday! It’s all about you boosting your energy and lowering stress levels. Sometimes the break from a daily routine can help you to mentally reset, jump off the treadmill and gain some perspective on work related or personal issues. It also helps you to be more efficient at work.

Dr. Coleman: Taking a MHD from work or home responsibilities is a sign that a person is not waiting for the goodwill of others to get some much needed time-off. They are taking the initiative to take better care of themself. Taking a MHD informs others (bosses, family) that taking care of oneself is a priority. We teach others how to treat us by how we treat ourselves. How can a person get the most out of a mental health day?

Williams: Breaking up your routine allows you to see your problems different. Changing your environment to one that is more relaxing and calm can give you a different perspective or resolution. By taking time to yourself, it’s a chance to exercise self-care and self-indulgence. A new haircut, a day at the spa or lunch with friends helps you reconnect with yourself. It can also be a great boost for your self-esteem and confidence.

Dr. Coleman: Taking a MHD allows time for self-reflection. You can sort out what changes, if any, need to be made to improve your life. When you have a realization that you need a MHD, this is a sign that you haven’t been caring enough about yourself and need to make some changes in your life. What happens if we neglect to exercise self-care?

Williams: When you work the typical 9 –5 job, rarely do you get the opportunity to know what’s happening in your community during those same hours. When you take a MHD, you get to do things that help you learn more about your community. This includes neighborhood concerts, museums, etc. A day of rest can be good for the body, too! Any other MHD wisdom?

Dr. Coleman: Emotional and spiritual growth is not just addition, but subtraction. It comes from taking on new insights and habits and releasing old attitudes, beliefs and behaviors that no longer serve us. Taking a MHD is a step in that direction and shakes up beliefs that we realize are not helpful.

SEE MORE: Michelle Williams opens up about her struggles with depression, at one point feeling suicidal, in this video.

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