A ‘Mental Health Day’ Is Perfectly Acceptable And It Doesn’t Mean You’re Lazy

A ‘Mental Health Day’ Is Perfectly Acceptable And It Doesn’t Mean You’re Lazy

Everyone needs time to de-stress.
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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.

Cover Image Credit: pexels

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Dear Girls, You Are So Much More Than Your Jean Size

Even when it feels like you're not.

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Trust me, I know how it feels. I know what it's like to constantly think about food. I know what it's like to be driven insane trying to follow a ridiculous diet. And I also know what it's like to feel beyond guilty that 80 percent of the time I do eat that piece of cake I promised myself I wouldn't. I know how it feels to stand in front of the full-length mirror in your bathroom and choke back tears because your thighs look way too big in the new shorts that you were so excited to wear. I've felt insecure, I've felt hopeless, and I sometimes have a hard time holding my body confidently when I walk into a room of strangers.

We've all felt it.

But there are times when some of us feel it so strongly we just want to burst. Times when we simply can't handle the thought of being inadequate, unattractive or not enough. These feelings can lead us to desperate measures, and we do things we never thought in our right minds we would do. Insecurity holds great and ugly power, and oftentimes it can twist the truth. Sometimes, it can even twist us.

The first day my best friend called me and told me she had made herself throw up, I cried on the phone. I knew this girl inside and out, had grown up alongside her for the past 14 years. This wasn't her, this just wasn't something she would do. Yes, of course I knew this girl.

But at the same time, I had no idea what she was dealing with.

I didn't understand what it was like to have people telling me each successive day that I wasn't enough. That I would never make it unless I lost 10 pounds. That I didn't have the right "look" to be an Olympic-level athlete.

Day in and day out, my friend was degraded with these words and notions conceived from nothing but the expectations of society and the culture of a brutal sport.

The first words I said to her and the only words I can really, truly offer to any girl struggling with this are, "It's not worth it." Because it just isn't. Compromising your physical, mental and emotional health is not worth being the best at your sport. It's not worth becoming a prima ballerina, fitting into size two jeans, getting boys to like you, becoming part of a sorority, being a model or looking great in a bikini.

What is worth it is you.

I know that sometimes as a girl it is so hard to realize that you are more than just a body. But you are. You are more than just skin and bones. You are a million stories of where you've been, a million visions of where you want to go. You are the kind words you've said to strangers passing by, you are your favorite books, and the quotes hung up above your bed frame. You are the songs you play over and over again till the lyrics are second nature. You are the tattoo you've always wanted to get on your forearm. You are your mother's daughter.

Don't simplify yourself to just a body. You are so much more than that.

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