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You Deserve A Mental Health Day

So Why Aren't You Taking it?

African American man portrait
image credit: Sam Burriss via Unsplash

And why is this still an issue?

That's rhetorical. I know why. We live with systems that value production over wellness. Plus, the investment of time and resources to restructure our society in a meaningful way is a daunting endeavor. More changemakers working consistently to rectify our skewed way of life are needed for the turnaround to be sustainable. I'm dropping the mic on this because we need a reminder of some things.

What Other People Think of You is None of Your Business

I have some choice words for the rhetoric that people feel the need to throw around, like yesterday's PPE mask whenever someone at work takes a day off. However, I'm going to leave that in another space for now. People are exhausted Period. Some of us were always tired and running off a bootleg program that had us believing we had no other options. So the last two years ripped off the band-aid on an already oozing wound. Finally, the world is waking up to the fact that people are not robots and need to rest. Many businesses are incorporating mindfulness into their operations. Yet, have you noticed that it's not always acceptable when workers partake in their right to take time off?

I'm aware that many companies are running on a skeletal crew. And sometimes, people take advantage and call out repeatedly, which adds to the work versus workers ratio burden. This post is not to encourage the abusers. I'm talking to the people that need to rest. I'm speaking to the folks that hardly use their PTO, are pretty responsible, and for those that keep shelving that magical day when they will take time off. Y'all need to slow down and recharge. Continually pouring from empty vessels is not getting it.

The Double standard

You deserve to take time off, just not on typically scheduled workdays. Insert eye roll because this is the underlying message that we get. I've heard the stories, and I've witnessed this mindset. I've sat in meetings where employee retention and satisfying the changing needs of the workforce come across as sound-bites on a platter of good intentions. They retract those sentiments the moment someone makes good on the offer to use their earned time. Working in the mental health field adds insult to injury.

Our society has conditioned us to be go-getters that push through it all. So for many of us, guilt, blame, and shame slink in when we choose to take a day off work. We know by now that the world goes on without us. Yet that go, go, go program in our mind is still running. This thought pattern could turn your day of rest into a day of watching the clock thinking about what you would be doing if you were at work. It's ok. I'm not calling you out.

So What To Do?

Take a damn day off! Plan a vacation. You remember those, don't you? If you need to ease into the "Use Your Time Crew," put in a request to leave work a few hours early on a particular day. If you haven't made time to go to the doctor, schedule an appointment. Use the rest of the day as a day of respite.

Most importantly, do not feel guilty for taking care of yourself! Enjoy every delicious moment of freedom. Ignore coworkers who have something to say about what you do with Your time. Everyone has their ideas about accountability and acceptance. However, staying grounded in your core values will serve you when people come at you sideways. Trust and believe that they will use that PTO when they need to handle their business.

Preaching to The Converted

I get it; change is a process. In the meantime, we can give our lives some breathing room. We can embrace the small steps to clarity and joy. We can do our inner work to change how we navigate this system. I want to take a day off, but I had one last week. I'm also afflicted with the over-caring syndrome. So maybe this is an incentive for me to embody my assertions. Want to be my accountability buddy? I hope that you are encouraged to give yourselves the gift of rest.

Y'all deserve it.

We're here for you when you decide that your Me Time is long overdue.


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