Can More “Mental Health Days” Help Prevent Employee Burnout?
Over the last 2 decades, taking time off from work has become less common. Plus, with the recent increase in remote employment, it’s now easier than ever to take your work with you. We’ve all been guilty of constantly checking our emails and messages—even on vacation. The emergence of different perks like mental health days and unlimited PTO might be the remedy to prevent burnout.
Is Your Job Stressing You Out?
Currently, 20% of American workers struggle with a mental health disorder, and 10% struggle with addiction.1 Americans are some of the most overworked in the world, often averaging 40 or more hours per week. Some of the most common jobs are also the most stressful. Demanding jobs where you’re always under pressure, worrying and working long hours all contribute to workplace stress. This can be the case for many professions like:
- Mental health counselors.
- Blue-collar workers.
- Construction managers.
- Law professionals.
In many companies, asking for a “mental health day” is still frowned upon. The stress from your job may go unnoticed until it manifests into a health problem or abusing drugs and alcohol to deal with stress.
Professions with Highest Rates of Substance Misuse
There is an overlap between working stressful jobs and the tendency to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol. Manual labor jobs like construction and mining that take a physical and mental toll on workers have the highest rates of heavy alcohol use.3 Other jobs that have a high rate of stress and substance abuse are:
- Hospitality jobs, such as bartenders and servers.
- Health care professionals.
What starts as a once-in-a-while thing at home can quickly carry into the workplace. Being under the influence at work can result in issues like getting hurt on the job and making frequent mistakes.
Benefits of More Mental Health Days
Incorporating more mental health days into your work-life balance has many benefits. Even if your job is stressful, taking time off to recuperate and focus on self-care will help you manage stress. It’s also nice to feel like your employer appreciates you, understands the importance of mental health, and takes yours seriously.
Mental health days are the perfect time to unplug and focus on yourself. Spending your time off exercising or connecting with nature are great ways to prevent unhealthy levels of stress and promote relaxation and peace of mind.
If you’ve reached the point where a few mental health days won’t be enough or find yourself turning to drugs or alcohol to unwind it may be best to talk with a doctor or look into getting treatment.
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