The Mental Health Day

I can usually feel mine coming on. A few days before, there will be mornings that I just don’t want to get out of bed. I think of plenty of reasons not to, excuses I can come up with for my job, but inevitably, responsibility gets the better of me, and I haul my lazy ass out of my incredibly comfortable, king-size, pillow top bed, and drag my sorry ass into my office to work.

But it never fails. Once that pattern manifests itself, there will soon be a morning when you’re just not going to do it. That morning when you say, “Screw the man! I’m staying the hell home because I want to! I’m not sick at all. I’m just sick of the routine.”

Then comes the decision on what to say when you call your boss. Do you fake an illness? Blame it on your kid? Or just fess up and say you’re taking a mental health day? Depending on which particular supervisor I get, I’ll either go with the ask-no-questions “stomach bug,” or just say, “Listen, if I don’t take today off, I’m going to quit.” If you’re good at your job and a valued employee, they’ll take that seriously and not give you crap about it.

So, now that you’ve called in, what do you do? Do you pull a Ferris Bueller and do absolutely everything you can think of, run errands that you didn’t get to over the weekend, or just lay low and watch t.v. all day.

The one thing I avoid at all costs on a mental health day is errands. For the love of Christmas, this is a spontaneous day off to feed your soul. Does the mower really need to get to the repair shop that day? No, and it’s only going to make your car smell like gasoline. I like to lay low myself. Catch up on my reading, empty out my DVR. Inevitably though, I do feel a little bit guilty. I feel like I need to earn the day in my p.j.s, contributing to society or the economy in no way, and I usually do a little cleaning. A little cleaning though. 

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6 thoughts on “The Mental Health Day

  1. I’m horrible at taking these days but you’ve described them perfectly. My sister is the queen of these. She’ll spend the whole day reading magazines, watching tv shows and listening to the newest music while going through her clothes (which isn’t a chore for her, she loves her clothes more than anything) and cleaning. She’s a real Snow White XD
    I, on the other hand, feel guilty as hell doing those things. I just can’t lay low. Even when I deserve it. Even when my body is screaming for it.
    The way I usually do it is excuse myself with a social visit. When I’m with friends I can excuse laying about watching TV for some hours 😀
    I do agree that these days should be errand-free.

    1. That’s a clever way to mask them! I don’t take them often, but once the idea takes root in my sleepy brain, it grows fast. One mental health day I discovered my friend in Minnesota was taking one, too. We IM’d and watched videos “together” most of the day.

  2. Love the virtual mental health day with your friend! It’s hard to do this! My cue that’s it’s time to take a day off: I start wishing I could get sick so I would be forced to do nothing.

  3. I love a good mental health day. Like you, I can feel it coming on. I have had days where I’ve woken up and the day was simply too gorgeous to spend it in an office, or I just felt too much stress on my way to work and I’ve turned around and gone home. Our mental and physical well being is so much more important than a job I think. I am guilty of not taking enough mental health days but it’s something I am working on.

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