Ditch the Guilt of Taking a Mental Health Day Off Work

February 20, 2023 Laura A. Barton

I’ve always been the kind of person that gets anxious about taking mental health days off work. Some of that, I think, is due to the lingering stigma in society that it’s not a valid reason to take a day off, but I’m here to say let’s ditch that. Let’s ditch the guilt of taking a day for our mental health and ditch feeling guilty about how we spend it.

Taking a Mental Health Day Off Work Is a Good for You

I took a mental health day off work recently. The nice thing about my workplace is that what another company would call a sick day, my company calls a “wellness day”—they understand that mental health needs to be taken care of just as physical health does.

Still, I argued with myself about taking the day off. Watch the video below to see why and also why it ended up being a good thing that I did.

Mental Health Days Off Work Are for You

Apart from the initial internal battle of whether a mental health day is “warranted,” I also feel guilty when I do things on my mental health day off. I don’t know about you, but when I’m physically sick, I don’t want to do anything, go anywhere, or see anybody. I’m lucky if I’m not just lying on the couch feeling like I’m dying.

For some mental health days, I’m also pretty lackluster, but doing things that bring me joy helps to brighten my spirits. On my most recent one, I went to a bookstore and took care of an errand that had been weighing on my mind. I was glad to be able to get out and do those things.

But, because of the old-school idea that sick days mean you’re incapacitated on your couch, there’s a small part of me that feels guilty for taking a day off work just to do that. If I’m taking a mental health day off work, shouldn’t it be the same?

The short answer is no. As I mentioned in the above video, I needed that break to recharge and reset. I needed that break to mitigate the mental health spiral I found myself in while working. I needed to take time to do something for me to make sure I was taking care of my mental wellbeing (which is a key factor in my continued mental illness recovery).

My mental health days off work are for me. If you’re struggling with taking time for yourself for mental health, this is your reminder that your mental health days off work are for you. Do with them whatever soothes your mental health struggles.

APA Reference
Barton, L. (2023, February 20). Ditch the Guilt of Taking a Mental Health Day Off Work, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 24 from

Author: Laura A. Barton

Laura A. Barton is a fiction and non-fiction writer from Ontario, Canada. Follow her writing journey and book love on Instagram, and Goodreads.

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