How to practice self-care and actually participate in a mental health day

Hey. How are you feeling? If you're so stressed and distracted by the news (Supreme Court overturns Roe, tampon shortage, guns, etc.) that you can't concentrate on work or stop crying, maybe you need more than a big glass of water and a walk. You may need a full mental health day. Your government may have decided that it can control what you do to your body, but that doesn't mean your boss can, too.

First, understand that taking time off to relax when your brain feels like it's melting into hot sludge is not a "luxury" or a sign of poor work ethics. Rest is a basic human need, and if you are not fully functioning, you are not doing anyone any favors.

We know that protocols for requesting time off vary from workplace to workplace, and you may or may not be required to provide your supervisor with a reason for taking time off. You may be lucky enough to work with a manager who will understand if you just tell them you are attending a mental health day. If you don't have such a manager, resist the urge to provide any detailed explanation at all. Your health - mental, reproductive or otherwise - is still your own business, and if you don't feel well enough to go to work, that's all you need to say.

Next - and as someone who consumes news for a living, I know this can be hard - turn off the news. Log out. Disable news alert notifications. Believe me when I tell you that while you take a little break, there will be others on the Internet and on the ground fighting the good fight. Instead, go for a walk, watch The Barefoot Contessa and read a romance novel.

Better yet, get out. Even when it feels like the country is on the verge of collapse, interacting with others who are still trying to live their lives can have a dramatic healing effect. It doesn't matter what you do, as long as it's something you enjoy. Go to a movie, go out for a nice lunch, go for a hike, etc. Take a day to be you and give your mind a break.

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