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How to Take a Guilt-Free Mental Health Day | Jena Viviano | Your Career Strategist

You’ve hit your breaking point. The project isn’t going as you planned. Your boss is driving you crazy. And if you get one more email over the weekend demanding your attention...you just may throw your computer across the room.

Been there. May have done that.

If this sequence of events sounds all too familiar – it’s probably time for a mental health day, my friend.

But you probably already knew that.

The problem is we ALL know we need to take a mental health day every once in a while, but we often don’t take one until it’s too late. Ya know, when we’re ready to throw our computers against the wall.

So, what gives? If we know we need a break, why don’t we take one? 

For one, we feel guilty. We start listening to our inner critic - Critical Cathy - and hear her saying,

“You’re weak. No one else has to take a mental health day.”
“If you take a day off, you won’t look dedicated.”
“You want that promotion? The only way to get it is to work yourself to the BONE!”
“You don’t actually deserve to take a day off.”

She’s a mean one, isn’t she?

How to Take a Guilt-Free Mental Health Day | Jena Viviano | Your Career Strategist

Let’s be clear: You are not weak because you need a mental health day. You aren’t going to not get a promotion because you take one day off. And you aren’t a bad person or an undedicated employee just because you are creating boundaries.

Phew. Now that we’ve covered that, here’s how to take a mental health day that is not only fun – but also guilt-free:

How to Take a Guilt-Free Mental Health Day | Jena Viviano | Your Career Strategist

WHEN TO TAKE ONE

This is the #1 mistake ambitious career women make: they wait until they are already burnt out to take a mental health day. Instead, plan for it. We recommend that you plan for at least one mental health day per quarter. If you have a flexible vacation policy at your company, take off one day a month! Truly, one day a month is not a crazy amount. Think about how many hours you spend at your office...it’s healthy to take a break.

So, take a look at your calendar. Pick at least 4 days in the next year that you can request for time off. Mark it on your calendar, let your boss know, and feel confident that you’re creating a rhythm of rest.

After all, no matter what an employer says – no one gives you work-life balance. You have to create it for yourself.

How to Take a Guilt-Free Mental Health Day | Jena Viviano | Your Career Strategist

WHAT TO TELL YOUR MANAGER

Aside from negotiating your salary, one of the most anxiety-inducing conversations at work can be asking for time off. Use this script when scheduling out your mental health day.

Hey [Boss]! One of my goals this year is to ensure I don’t burn out and stay fresh for the team. After doing a bit of research on the subject, one of the ideas that kept popping up was to take a mental health day once a quarter. I took a look at our projects to ensure my absence doesn’t affect any big deadlines. I’m thinking Date 1, Date 2, Date 3, Date 4 would work best. What do you think?

OR

You don’t even have to tell your manager a year in advance. Instead, you could just plan them out in your calendar and then give about 2 weeks notice that you’re planning on taking off. We recommend you stay on the side of truth-telling, though. Nothing will ruin your mental health day vibe more than lying about “being sick” just so you can take a break. Talk about guilt! 

How to Take a Guilt-Free Mental Health Day | Jena Viviano | Your Career Strategist

WHAT TO DO

Here comes the fun part! What do you DO on your day off?

Many people love the idea of taking off, but once the day comes….they have no clue how to spend their time. So what ends up happening?

They veg on the couch or worse….they check their email or Slack messages!

(To be clear - sometimes you DO just need to veg on the couch. No shame in that.)

The goal to having a “successful” mental health day is to plan something that sounds restorative to you.

How to Take a Guilt-Free Mental Health Day | Jena Viviano | Your Career Strategist

Perhaps it means sleeping in, having a slow morning, then meeting a friend for lunch.
Perhaps it looks like scheduling a massage or hair appointment or going to a juicy restorative yoga class.
Perhaps it sounds like taking yourself on a creative date – like going to an old movie or visiting an art museum.
Perhaps it is being a homebody and spending some time crafting or whipping up a delicious meal.
Perhaps it means cuddling up in a coffee shop with a new mystery novel.

Whether you believe it or not – all of those activities are CRUCIAL to your productivity at work in the long haul. Especially as women, if we are only utilizing our masculine energy and not cultivating and unleashing our feminine energy….we will not be our best selves.

So plan something fun. Something restorative. Maybe even an activity that aligns with your cycle.

Whatever it is, say buh-bye to guilt and say hello to some R&R. We can guarantee that post-mental health day, you’ll come back refreshed, renewed and excited to jump into work – focused and ready to deliver value.


Do You Think You May Need More than A Day...
Maybe a Sabbatical?

If so, we have a blog post and a podcast episode all about taking sabbaticalshow to do it, if it's right for you, how to think through it more deeply.

Career

How to Take a Guilt-Free Mental Health Day

October 27, 2020

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recruit the employer

resources for your

Career

digital devotional

resume writing 101

freebie
my signature program

Word at work

digital devotional

Follow me on 

I'm here to make sure you become irresistible to recruiters and hiring managers. In an extremely competitive marketplace, I can show you how to take back control of the job search, become a stand-out candidate and ultimately land you your dream career. Oh, and I promise to make the process fun. Yes, fun.

I'm Jena