I’ve had this epiphany recently and I wanted to share it with you guys. Epiphany actually may be overstating things, but it really did feel like such an “aha moment” to me.
I’m sure you all have heard of taking a “mental health day.” Usually it means taking a day off of work or school when you feel especially drained and need to recharge, so to speak, to get back into full gear. I’m a big believer in these…. but I am the first to admit that I’m not that great about doing it. I typically end up taking off most of the day, but fully stepping away from responsibilities for a full day doesn’t really happen.
The past few months (sheesh, really the last year) have been so draining. The weight of the pandemic, pregnancy, big deadlines, and a super snowy winter left me feeling depleted. Even though I was emotionally down and very, very physically down, I didn’t take a day off. Sure, I often worked from bed and I found myself working at 10pm because I was throwing up and napping in the middle of the day…. but I still didn’t drop any balls.
MENTAL HEALTH DAYS
After getting the first dose of the vaccine, and having so many of my friends and family members get vaccinated as well…. plus picking up therapy again… plus feeling physically better now that I’m in the second trimester…. plus having a couple of legitimately warm days. I finally felt better. (Not perfect, by any means, but certainly better.)
Last week, I finally felt like I was operating at my usual 100%. Not only did I not feel behind, I just felt fully capable of working at the levels I’m used to and it felt sooooo good. I absolutely felt a weight lifted off my shoulders and the fogginess cleared from my head (so much so that I realized just how foggy I had felt for the past few months).
And I did something I never do. I just…. ditched work.
Don’t get me wrong, I take plenty of breaks. (Grateful to be able to set my own schedule for this exact reason.) I just always have to plan to make it up at some point in the future.
This time, I just didn’t do the work.
And it was a spontaneous decision at that; also very unlike me. I always think about taking a mental health day when I’m feeling down and in need of a recharge. It had never (literally never) occurred to me that I could, and should, take off days when I was feeling 10/10!!! Because I was feeling physically and emotionally good, It was one of the best days I’ve had in a while. Instead of feeling like I wanted to sit on the couch and watch television to completely veg out…. I wanted to do all the things. I was even inspired to bake a cake for the first time since before Christmas. And I didn’t have to “waste” that glowy feeling sitting in front of my computer.
It just so happened that I took this mental health day on a Friday, but then I had a great weekend (and resisted the urge to make up the work!!!)…. and I swear I came back to Monday just ready to jump back into the real world.
(Of course, being able to do this without having to check in with a boss is an incredible privilege… I don’t take it for granted.)