How to Take a Mental-Health Day

Taking time off can enhance workplace productivity and personal well-being. Try these four tips to make the most of your day off.

A contemplative woman in workout clothes stretches her arms.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, overworked, and under pressure, it may be time to take a day off. Though most of us have been conditioned to equate busyness with success, studies have shown that time away from the job (even when we work remotely!) can pay surprising dividends — for you and for your employer.

And with workplace burnout on the rise, it’s more important than ever to give yourself a chance to recharge. Consider the following tips for taking a mental-health day — and making the most of it when you do.

Tips:

  • Give yourself permission to step away. Many people feel they don’t have time to take a day off, but everyone deserves an occasional break. It may be easier to allow yourself the chance to decompress when you acknowledge that you’ll likely be even more productive and engaged when you return.
  • Do what makes you feel good. Plan your day off by focusing on activities that serve your physical and mental wellness, whether that means catching up on chores, enjoying a massage, or simply relaxing.
  • Put it on your calendar. It can be tempting to delay needed breaks. If you can, consider scheduling a day off in advance, just as you would your vacation days. Adding it to your calendar gives it importance, and it may encourage you to rearrange your workload ahead of your absence.
  • Sign off. A real day off is a day sans work email, too. Set an auto-reply message for your account so that anyone who tries to contact you knows you’re offline for the day and that you will get back to them soon.

is a contributing editor.

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