Finding a balance between working hard and taking time off for yourself can be difficult. Although working hard can help you achieve your goals and potentially get you further in your career, it’s vital that you don’t burn out and take time to look after yourself. 

According to the NHS, burnout is “a state of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when an individual feels overwhelmed, emotionally drained and unable to meet constant demands”. With that in mind, it’s easy to see how so many people nowadays suffer from burnout.

When should you take a day off for your mental health?

There’s no right or wrong answer here. Everyone has to deal with different levels of stress and over a variety of lengths of time. As soon as your stress levels have reached their peak, it’s definitely time to take a break to reset. 

Whatever you do, don’t wait for it to get so bad that it becomes unhealthy. Take the time to understand what your queues are and what to look out for. Only you know what your breaking point is and how much you can take.

Take a day when you need it

Often many of us forget that we are well within our rights to take a day off to care for ourselves where mental health is concerned. The best way to avoid feeling stressed and letting the thought of taking a day off get to you is to schedule it ahead of time. This will give you chance to rearrange your workload if needs be and sort anything out that you need to. By getting prepared it’ll help to relieve some of the pressure.

However, if you wake up one morning and feel overwhelmed, like you can’t face the day or that the thought of commuting on a Wakefield to Doncaster train or on the tube is too much, this is also a good indicator that it’s time to take a mental health day! Employers nowadays are much more aware of the need for mental health days, and as long as you’re open and honest about your situation, are likely to have no problem with you taking a day here or there. 

Taking care of yourself is paramount. Remember to use your mental health days wisely and do things for you that will help.