“Adulting is a scam”.
This is something you’ve heard said or have read about a bunch of times, usually laughing at the uncomfortable truth and retweeting and sharing as fast as possible. And you are absolutely justified in feeling that way! With work, home, and school responsibilities taking up more than 80% of our time on any given day, it is hard to find the time to breathe and smell the roses, so to speak.
We live in a society where we’re expected to be ‘On’ all the time. For most of us, this leaves no room for self-reflection as we shoot for the ever elusive stars in an effort to impress and prove our worth. As a result, most of us end up walking a fine line between burnout and cha muhimu ni uhai.
When we’re sick, we take a day or two off work and school for our bodies to rest and recuperate, but most of us don’t give the same courtesy to our minds. Even when our minds are past exhaustion, we still force ourselves to do the things that bring us no joy instead of taking a break to recharge and refresh our minds. This is widely known as taking a mental health day and is popular in many workplaces in the USA and New Zealand.
In Kenya, as in many countries in the world, there’s a certain stigma involved in admitting that your mind is tired, but mental health days are nothing to be ashamed of. Most times people are told to get over it and move on, but ignoring mental health symptoms may be disastrous and even affect our physical bodies.
Are you due for a mental health day? Here are the signs to look out for:
- You can’t sleep
You may be exhausted after putting in a full day at work/school, but lately, you’ve been staring up at the ceiling at 3 am unable to sleep. The average person requires seven to nine hours of sleep per night in order to function effectively, and a consistent lack of sleep is dangerous to your mental wellbeing. It also weakens your immune system and you could get sick more often. Taking a mental health day to sleep in or take naps whenever you feel like will go a long way in sustaining your mental and physical stability.
- You’re having anxiety attacks
You may be feeling overwhelmed and like everything is coming at you at once. These attacks may also come in the form of chest pains and feel like you can’t breathe. Use your mental health day to do something fun that you enjoy doing.
- You feel unmotivated
You no longer find your job as exciting or fulfilling as you used to. You force yourself to go to school every morning. You’re finding it more and more difficult to get any work done, no matter how simple the task. It’s time to take a break from it all and remind yourself of the good things in life.
- You feel detached
It’s like you’re looking at life through a thin film, nothing touches you anymore and you’re numb from it all. A mental health day is a perfect time to rediscover all the things you love and bring back the colour to your life.
- You are neglecting yourself
If you no longer eating right, bathe only when it’s necessary to keep up appearances and generally don’t care about maintaining important life relationship, it is time to step back. A mental health day will help you to evaluate the important things in life, while also allowing your body to unwind.
Do these signs sound familiar? You might think that you have it all together, but your brain needs to rest sometimes so that it can operate at full capacity. Take that mental health day whenever you need it and reap the benefit.