Americans work hard. In fact, we work so hard most of us lose vacation days every year.

This work ethic would be admirable if it wasn’t creating stress and anxiety in America’s workers.

Working too hard for too long can wear us down. There is no way we can perform at our best when we are constantly exhausted. Taking an occasional mental health day gives us a chance to recharge and relax.

For some reason, Americans think they must work until they drop. Instead of taking earned time off, many of us postpone vacations or cancel plans altogether.

This makes no sense from a mental health perspective. Never getting away from work and changing our focus to more enjoyable activities can mentally wear us down until we feel overwhelmed.

Never taking time away from work often results in frustrations and increased stress. This finds its way into the workplace and eventually we feel like we’re about to reach our breaking point.

This is when a mental health day can reap huge benefits. Stepping away from our job responsibilities can help us relax and refocus.

While you shouldn’t need an excuse to take a mental health day, there are some valid reasons for taking a day away from the office.

Lower Your Stress Levels

Week after week of long hours without a break can bring us to the brink of collapse.

We are stressed and irritable and pretty soon people are commenting on our behavior. If you find yourself snapping at coworkers or your family, it’s time to take a break.

Our job is one of the primary causes of stress. A mental health day allows us to step back from the stress and take a breath. This is why mental health experts recommend taking a day away whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed.

If you are constantly feeling stressed or anxious at work, you have to decompress.

Stress leads to freakouts and breakouts and neither is a good look for anyone’s professional image.

Look at your work schedule and figure out the best day to plan your stress-free day of rest and relaxation.

Get Out And Explore

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Everyone knows that fresh air and sunshine are part of a healthy diet. Even if it’s just a walk around the block or a quick lunch on a park bench, take the time to explore your neighborhood or take a hike.

A mental health day allows you to relax and take part in activities you enjoy, like lounging on the beach or by the pool.

Think like a tourist and visit a local attraction or spend some time in a museum or art gallery. You’ll find yourself relaxed and ready to take on the world.

Taking a break is like breathing in fresh air. It’s good for your brain.

Take the time away from work to decompress and focus on something that has nothing to do with your office responsibilities. You’ll be more creative and productive than ever before. Taking a much-needed break not only helps you, but also helps the company.

Experience Something New

Pull out that bucket list and do one of the things you’ve always wanted to do. Even if it’s something simple like trying that new Thai restaurant, use this time to do something you’ve wanted to do, but never found time for.

While most of us already have some downtime built into our work schedule, the weekend or that regular day off may not be enough. If you’re looking at the coming week and feeling extraordinarily stressed or anxious, it is time to take a day away and decompress.

Allowing yourself to step away from the pressures of work and experience something you enjoy will not only make you feel better. It will also make you a more productive employee.

Every so often we all need a day to unwind and relax.

Read also: 5 Common Signs of Business Burnout & What to Do About It

Catch Up On Sleep

If you are feeling exhausted at work, you are probably not sleeping well either. Taking a mental health day allows you to sleep in and catch up on your rest.

Research shows us that when we don’t get enough sleep, we soon begin to experience several negative effects. In addition to being tired, we have trouble concentrating, suffer memory lapses, become irritable and can even become paranoid.

If we don’t do something to break the cycle, our sleepless nights will result in stressful days and the cycle will continue to worsen.

Taking a mental health day breaks this cycle and gives us some much-needed time to just veg out and shut your brain off. Whether that means you binge watch Netflix or you sleep the day away, it’s up to you.

Occupational health experts agree that the ideal workday begins around 9 AM. This allows employees to get a full night’s rest and come to work refreshed.

While this is a great idea, realistically, it probably won’t be happening anytime soon. Instead, take an occasional mental health day and get some rest.

Change Up Your Routine

While we shouldn’t have to come into the office when we’re stressed or tired, the truth is sometimes we just have to suck it up and do it.

Most of us have to work to pay our bills even when we’re feeling apathetic about our job. If you find yourself just not caring about your job, it’s time to get away and take a mental break.

You don’t need to commit to an entire day off to reset your mental game. Try leaving early or going in late.

Changing up your routine to fit in a selfish errand, like a quick manicure or early happy hour with friends, can really lift your mood and in turn your productivity.

Mental health days help produce happier, more relaxed employees.

If you are experiencing high stress levels or constant anxiety, then you need to give yourself permission to take a mental health day.

Remember: Life isn’t about working the hardest, longest, most ridiculous hours and never having any fun. It’s about finding that happy work/life balance.

So give yourself that mental health day you deserve!

About The Author

This is a guest post by Lauren, a working super mom of 3 crazy busy kids, who is living and loving every single moment of this adventure called life. She freelances for Must Do Visitor Guides.