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mental health days

April 26, 2011

I can’t remember who first introduced me to that phrase but I know that I am grateful to them.

Over the last ten years I have taken a couple of mental health days. Nothing physically wrong with me – no flu, no cough or headache – nothing that would get me a doctor’s certificate or make me sound unbelievably ‘sick’ on the phone. But that is the idea.

Take the day off before the fog in my head manifests as a dis-ease in my body. Or before the fog in my head becomes the norm rather than the exception.

So no post last week and if you had read my previous post on change and the weather that probably wasn’t a surprise. It has been a very busy couple of weeks. On top of all the usual stuff that makes life busy I added some extra travel and a few unexpected business related surprises (including the news that the best bookkeeper in the world – our bookkeeper – was taking a full-time role and so would not be our bookkeeper any more!)

So I took a day off from the blog. I took a mental health day. Being self-employed has its upsides and its downsides. One upside is that I get a much greater say in when and how long I work.  So I acknowledge it is easier for me to take some time to get my head right, but I want to recommend  mental health days to you and to your boss. I think they are more important and probably more beneficial than the traditional ‘sick days’. (A rant on sick people who come to work to share their disease instead of staying at home can wait for another time.)

In the past month or so I have spoken to a lot of people who are working hard just trying to keep their head above water. Their boss, their employees, their kids, their parents, their husband, their wife, their ex … you know what it is like.

What has been more unsettling is the handful of people I have spoken with who have sunk below the water and told me that at the time the will to live had left them. They have brought their heads above water again but the experience has left its mark. On them and now through their stories on me.

The beyondblue website here in Australia states:

Depression is currently the highest medical cause of disability worldwide and predicted to be the second highest medical cause of death and disability worldwide by 2020.

Don’t let it get to that. You might be surprised to hear that if you stop running the world will not stop turning. Sit in the park in the sunshine during your lunch break and watch the world go by. Have tea with a friend or just get out and go somewhere nice for coffee all by yourself.

Take a mental health day or just a mental health hour. You’ll feel better for it.

I know I did.


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One Comment leave one →
  1. May 2, 2011 7:51 pm

    A thought to add to this. Some people who blog make a big deal about never “taking a day off”. The only way to do that is to have a lot of posts written ready to go regardless of what is going on in your life.

    I tend to write in response to things that are happening in the days leading up to the post because I think it (potentially) makes things more relevant. What do you think? Does it make a difference?

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