The events of the past year and the COVID-19 pandemic have changed how we shop, socialize, learn, and work. And while some of us are working from home and some of us are still commuting into the office, there is no denying that feelings of stress and anxiety are at an all-time high.
According to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), symptoms of anxiety disorder and depressive disorder increased considerably in the United States during the summer of last year in comparison to that same timeframe in 2019. Nearly 41% of respondents reported at least one adverse mental or behavioral health condition. Additionally, recent data from Prodoscore, a company that analyzes user data across platforms, showed that productivity increased 47% in 2020, despite the coronavirus lockdown . Finally, a survey conducted by the HR Exchange network showed that employee self-reports of burnout increased from 42% pre-pandemic to 72% in August of 2020. Thirty percent of respondents said that blurring work and personal life was a major challenge. These statistics paint a harrowing picture: people are working more and feeling increasingly stressed.
Feeling some level of stress related to work is normal, but if it begins to affect your everyday mood, your personal relationships, or your mental health, it may be time to take a closer look. If you’re feeling burned out, it could be time to ask your boss for a mental health day.
It’s important to remember that your mental health is just as important as your physical health, so asking for a mental health day doesn’t have to be any different than asking for a regular sick day. Dr. Jesse Viner MD, CEO and Chief Medical Officer of Yellowbrick explains, “Taking a mental health day is totally your right, but the way you approach requesting it may depend on your particular workplace culture.” Familiarize yourself with your company’s leave policies before you request off – every company is different, and you want to make sure you’ve got the best chance to get your request approved. We’ve gathered some tips to help guide you through some viable options:
If work is causing you more stress than usual or you’re finding it difficult to focus, it might be time to consider taking a mental health day. This past year has been anything but usual, so give yourself some grace. You deserve to take a breath and re-center yourself. Taking some time off to care for your mental health is a great way to #BeTheDifference, and you’ll return to work feeling refreshed and ready.
For more tips on how to manage burnout and other work-related stressors, check out our other blogs:
Bloom, N., Liang, J., Roberts, J., & Ying, J. Z. (2015, February). Does working from home work? Evidence from a Chinese experiment. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 130(1) 165–218. https://doi.org/10.1093/qje/qju032
Businesswire. (2020, May 19). Prodoscore research from March/April 2020: productivity has increased, led by remote workers. https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20200519005295/en/
Czeisler M. É., Lane, R. I., & Petrosky, E., et al. (2020). Mental health, substance use, and suicidal ideation during the COVID-19 pandemic — United States, June 24-30, 2020. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 69, 1049–1057. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6932a1
Handrick, L. (2021, February 26). How to ask your boss for a mental health day off work. Choosing Therapy. https://www.choosingtherapy.com/ask-for-mental-health-day-off/
Mental Health First Aid USA (MHFA). (2020). Mental Health First Aid USA for Adults Assisting Adults. Washington, DC: National Council for Mental Wellbeing.
Neal, B. (2018, May 3). Here’s how to talk to your boss about taking a mental health day. Bustle. https://www.bustle.com/p/how-to-request-a-mental-health-day-off-work-because-mental-health-is-just-as-important-as-physical-health-8970427
Rice, D. (2021, February 8). The factors driving burnout in 2021. HR Exchange Network. https://www.hrexchangenetwork.com/employee-engagement/articles/the-factors-driving-burnout-in-2021
Scott, E. (2020, March 24). When you should take a mental health day. Verywell Mind. https://www.verywellmind.com/when-and-how-to-take-a-mental-health-day-3144754
U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission. (2016, December 12). Depression, PTSD and other mental health conditions in the workplace: Your legal rights. Retrieved from https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/guidance/depression-ptsd-other-mental-health-conditions-workplace-your-legal-rights