For the past couple years, I’ve struggled to survive working a part-time job while going to school full-time. I barely had time to eat, sleep, and relax when I had to cram in time for homework and studying.
I felt like I wasn’t at my best. I felt stressed beyond belief and scared that I would fail if I didn’t get my act together. I gave myself absolutely no time to unwind in between working and going to school and my mental health paid for it.
Eventually I had to learn that taking a mental health day was A-ok.
This article applies to anyone who has a busy life, whether you are a full-time student, work three jobs, or are a full-time white collar working doing the daily grind. You need to pay attention to your mental health, whether or not you have a mental illness.
Let me throw a few statistics at you: 42.5 million americans have a mental disorder of some kind. According to Newsweek, 1 in every 5 Americans has a mental illness. So when your boss or your teacher wants to be a jerk and get on your case for taking the time to, I don’t know, relax and calm down for the day when they don’t believe you don’t have a stomach churning flu, they obviously need to back off because you might actually need to give yourself a day to reset. Another thing to keep in mind: stress can eventually lead to mental disorders such as anxiety and depression and it can also worsen them.
The workforce and academia like to do this thing where they don’t really keep in mind your mental and physical health when they assign tasks and then guilt you for taking breaks. My advice is to kindly tell them, “oh well, too bad,” because at the end of the day, your health should always come first. Modern society has looked down at mental health as not really being a valid concern because it’s not something tangible, but that’s just stupid. Your mental health makes a huge impact on your physical health and vice versa. It can also impact the work you put out and your general demeanor.
Thanks to laws that have been passed to keep employers from treating their employees like they aren’t humans, part-time jobs have an allowance for absences. Sure, your employer will complain about how they are understaffed and that you’re probably not actually sick anyway, but as someone who’s worked in the service industry for five year, I can guarantee that five years from now, you won’t care that your boss complained about having less people working that day.
School have sick days too, just as long as you have a plan to make up the extra home so you don’t fall behind and that you don’t take time off just before a major test or quiz. Most teacher will give higher grades for better attendance, but even then, how important will a 5.0 gpa be when you’re mental health has to suffer for it? It looks good on a resume, but so does a 4.5. And, nowadays, a lot of employers don’t even ask for it anymore.
So take my advice. Take that day off. It doesn’t make you weak or lazy. It’s just you taking the time to take care of yourself. Binge watch that television show you’ve been waiting for. Eat a whole thing of Ben and Jerry’s. Or get a nice workout in if that’s your thing. Just relax. You’ll thank me later.