“If someone is stressed or depressed, adding the guilt of having to lie because they need a day off makes things worse. “There’s an expectation that you’re going to come into work the next day with signs of a cold, or some visible ailment. When sometimes you just need a day off.”
The same is true for those who work inside the home - stay-at-home moms, caregivers, etc.
A friend, a stay-at-home mom, whom after spending an afternoon at lunch and shopping with a friend, on returning home, kept her shopping bags in the trunk of her car. She feared being judged by her mother-in-law who was looking after the children, for spending her day not doing something “productive" like grocery shopping.
It’s okay to take a day off without needing visible proof that you needed this day. The need is evident simply because you raised your hand and said: “I need a day off.”
Can we let that be enough?
This is what mental health looks like. Taking care of yourself, head to toe, mind and body when you notice that you need a day to simply unplug. Taking care of yourself is being productive.
These stories are samples of what I hear all the time of people who carry the stress and guilt that’s often associated with taking time to care for one's mental health.
If this is something you struggle with please know that it’s entirely okay to take time for yourself, when you feel the need. And to return, whether it’s to the office or your own home, without “proof" that the time off was warranted.
And if you’re someone who is prone to making sharp or sarcastic comments about those who take time off for whatever reason, can you hold your tongue?