Celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month by Taking a Mental Health Day

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and after a turbulent and uncertain year, it’s only fair we spotlight this critical time and the importance of it. Whether you’ve struggled with a mental illness for years, or have found yourself in a negative state because of the pandemic, it’s important to be aware of your feelings and emotions.

There are many things we can do to “celebrate” Mental Health Awareness Month, including learning about the topic, being a resource for your peers, and sharing your experience to end the stigma. This month, I challenge you to take a mental health day off of work.

Mental health days became a thing months after the pandemic started. It gave company staff permission to take a PTO day without having anything planned. Mental health days are meant to give you the time and space to do whatever it is you need to do to feel your best. Whether it’s going away, getting outdoors, or doing absolutely nothing at all, a mental health day is for you and your health.

Oftentimes, we “save” our PTO for what we consider to be important things, vacations, and unexpected sick time, but what about a day to just be? We all work so hard. We’re often running from one errand to the next, one meeting to the next, and shifting from one assignment to the next.

Taking a mental health day is an investment in yourself and your company. By taking a day off now, you’re setting yourself for a successful tomorrow. If the company you work for doesn’t already offer mental health days as an option, talk to your supervisor and pitch the idea. It never hurts to share your needs, especially with someone you feel comfortable confiding in.

If you don’t feel comfortable talking to your manager or supervisor, this may be a good reason to check in with HR. It’s a big part of their job to create a safe and inviting atmosphere.

Remember that this Mental Health Awareness Month, do whatever it is that you need to feel your best. Whether it’s talking it out with a therapist, taking a run by yourself, or taking a mental health day to do nothing, mental health is overall health, so take care of it and never belittle it.

Happy Mental Health Awareness Month.