6 Signs You Need a Mental Health Day

Henna Geronimo
November 24, 2023

A mental health day is a dedicated time away from the stresses of work and daily life. It enables you to focus on personal well-being and psychological rest. In an era where burnout is increasingly common, recognizing the importance of such days is vital for long-term productivity and happiness.

Mental health days are not just a break from routine but a crucial part of stress management and maintaining work-life balance. They provide a pause to recharge, reflect, and recalibrate our mental and emotional states. Acknowledging the warning signs that indicate the need for a mental health day can help you take care of yourself.

Let's explore these indicators and understand why giving ourselves permission to step back can be one of the healthiest decisions we make.

warning signs
Source: Roots Mental Wellness

Recognizing Burnout

Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by prolonged stress. It often feels like a depletion or draining of one's energy, leaving individuals feeling overwhelmed and unable to meet constant demands. As the stress continues, one begins to lose the interest or motivation that led them to take on a certain role in the first place.

Burnout reduces productivity and saps energy, making individuals feel increasingly helpless, hopeless, cynical, and resentful. The negativity associated with burnout can also spill over into every area of life—including home, work, and social life. Burnout can also cause long-term changes to your body that make you vulnerable to illnesses like colds and flu.

In the workplace, common causes of burnout include:


Excessive workloads, with long hours and intense pressure to perform, are classic contributors to burnout.


A lack of control over one's work or schedule can contribute to burnout. This might involve a lack of resources needed to do your job or little say in how you do your work.


Not receiving adequate rewards for your work can be demotivating. This isn’t limited to salary; it includes the intrinsic satisfaction of feeling valued.

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A lack of a supportive community or a sense of isolation at work can increase stress. This might be due to working with challenging colleagues or not feeling integrated into your team.


When fairness isn’t practiced in decision-making, or there is a perception of inequality, it can lead to feelings of withdrawal and resentment.

Values Mismatch

If your personal values don’t align with the way your employer does business or what they value, it can feel disheartening and lead to dissatisfaction.

Signs You Need to Take A Mental Health Day Off

When it comes to our well-being, our bodies and minds often send us signals that it's time to take a break. Here are some clear indicators that suggest you might benefit from a mental health day:

Constant Fatigue

If you're feeling tired all the time, regardless of a good night's sleep, it could be a sign of mental overexertion. Mental fatigue can manifest as a deep sense of weariness that isn’t alleviated by resting or sleeping.

Irritability and Emotional Instability

When you find yourself short-tempered, snapping at colleagues, friends, or family over minor things, it's a sign of stress. If your emotions feel like a rollercoaster, swinging wildly from one extreme to another, it’s a signal that your emotional reserves may be depleted.

Difficulty Concentrating

Noticeable decline in focus or becoming easily distracted can be symptoms of mental overload. If you're finding it hard to complete tasks that you usually handle with ease, it's a sign that your brain might need a rest.

Sleep Disturbances

Struggling to fall or stay asleep, or experiencing restless nights, can be indicative of stress. Similarly, an urge to oversleep could suggest you’re trying to escape from stressors that confront you when you're awake.

Physical Symptoms

Stress and mental exhaustion can also manifest physically. Headaches, stomach aches, and muscle tension without a clear physical cause can all be linked to the need for mental rest.

Apathy Towards Work or Other Responsibilities

If you're feeling disconnected from your job or daily tasks, or you find that you don't care about outcomes that used to matter to you, it might be time to step back. A mental health day can provide space for reflection and reconnection with your motivations and goals.

stress management
Source: Roots Mental Wellness

Planning Your Mental Health Day

Taking a mental health day is a proactive step toward self-care, but to maximize its benefits, it's essential to plan it effectively. Here are some suggestions for crafting a restorative mental health day:


Step away from your email, social media, and phone. The digital detox can significantly reduce stress levels and prevent you from slipping back into work mode.

Relax and Recharge

Engage in activities that help you relax. Whether it's a long bath, reading a book, practicing yoga, or meditating, choose actions that rejuvenate your mind and body.


Take time to assess the causes of your stress. Journaling or simply sitting quietly in reflection can provide insight into what's been weighing on you and what changes are needed to reduce stress.

Get Outside

If possible, spend time in nature. A walk in a park or by the water can have a calming effect and provide a new perspective on whatever is causing you stress.


Don’t underestimate the power of rest. If you're sleep-deprived, allow yourself to wake up naturally, without an alarm, to catch up on sleep.

Pursue a Passion

Dedicate time to a hobby or activity you love but often don't have time for. This can reignite joy and creativity that gets stifled by routine stress.

Seek Professional Help if Needed

If you notice recurring patterns of stress, consider setting up an appointment with a mental health professional. A mental health day is a good start, but addressing deeper issues may require ongoing support.

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A mental health day is necessary to recalibrate and prevent burnout. It's a day dedicated to your emotional well-being, to stepping back from the pressures of work and daily life.

Don't hesitate to prioritize your mental health. Be open and communicate your needs with your employer or support network. Everyone needs a break, and taking one proactively can make you more resilient and more productive in the long run.

If you're finding it difficult to manage stress or if the warning signs of burnout are becoming more frequent, it might be time to seek professional support. At Roots Mental Wellness, we offer CBT and psychiatry services in Long Beach to help you develop effective coping strategies and address the root causes of your stress. Contact us to get started.

Henna Geronimo
Contributing Writer