5 Good Reasons to take a Mental Health Day from Work…Minus the Guilt

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You are not a machine, you are human!

As helping professionals, many of us may feel like firefighters.  We are constantly faced with situations where we are putting out fires.  This profession can be exhausting, if you do not find a way to reset and refocus for the next session or next day.

Research shows that many Americans rarely take time off from work.  Further, many in the helping profession allow guilt to get in the way of taking a much needed mental health day.  You love what you do and there are times when you are mentally exhausted.  However, guilt will not allow you to take a day off.

How do you get past this guilt?  You must first ask yourself, what purpose does this guilt serve in my life?

Can you give your clients the best possible you by working through mental exhaustion?

Is it fair to you or those you serve to get a mentally exhausted version of you?

 

Helping others begins with first helping ourselves!

As helping professionals, we find ourselves in a unique position.  We are providing care for a living and we must save time and energy for ourselves.

I have struggled in this area for many years.  I found myself consumed with guilt when feeling mentally exhausted and needing a day off.  Who would help my clients?  My teammates need me.  What will I tell my supervisor?  Again, I had to remind myself, my clients and teammates do not deserve a burned out version of Sharise.  This statement is used as a guide when deciding if a mental health day is needed.

What are good reasons to take a mental health day?

  1. Stress

We know the negative impacts stress has on us mentally, physically, psychologically and spiritually.  The work we do can be stressful and it is imperative that we listen to our bodies in order to gage when the stress is taking a toll on our ability to be effective.

  1. You can do something for yourself

As a wise woman stated “self-care for the selfless.”  I cannot stress enough that you give so much, so often to so many that doing something for yourself is a requirement as part of your self-care regimen.

  1. You can rest

How many 12 hour days have you worked?  How many hours have you spent worrying about the well-being of your clients?  The mental energy exerted to be effective in your work requires rest.  Resting consists of no checking emails, voicemails, completing paperwork or any other work related activity.  Disconnect rest and repeat #3!!!

  1. You will be more engaged when you return

We must intermittently disengage in order to actively re-engage.  View taking this well-deserved mental health day as time to recharge, re-energize and reset in order to be as close to 100% effective as possible.  When we take time away from work, we return more effective, more engaged and find renewal in the work we love.

  1. You can tap into your creative mind

A cluttered mind is not an effective mind.  Use this day to de-clutter your mind and be more “mindful” versus “mind-full.”  When we are operating off of a cluttered mind, it is nearly impossible to tap into your creative mind.  Our creative minds will allow us to think quickly on our feet as well as the ability to get through tough situations which will ultimately lead to our clients receiving the best versions of us!

 

We chose this profession because we love helping others and want to effect change in the world.  It is so common to get lost in work and lose sight of what really makes you happy.  Find what makes you happy outside of work.  Doing so can make a difference in your work-life balance and satisfaction.  A Refueled, Renewed and Re-centered helper is a win-win for YOU and YOUR CLIENTS!

More information on self-care for the helpers, work-life balance and satisfaction is included in the upcoming workbook: Walking the Tight Rope of Life: Refuel. Renew and Re-Center Your Work-Life Demands!

I would love to hear from you!  What struggles do you have with taking a day off from work?

How have you find a healthy work-life balance?

Say Goodbye to Self-Guilt & Hello to Self-Compassion: Tips for reframing self-guilt

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Guilt can rear its ugly head in many facets of your life. You feel guilty because you work long hours, leaving minimal time for your family. You feel guilty because “life happened” forcing you to devote more time to your personal life and less to work. You feel guilty because you do not have the energy to complete another task or an event you RSVP’d to months ago.   And….the most common form of guilt is saying no to everything and everyone else but saying yes to you; better known as self-compassion or self-care.

By no means am I implying that self-guilt is completely bad. Guilt can be a sign that you want to be better and you want more. There is always room for improvement; it is healthy to strive for being a better you each day and holding yourself accountable. Sometimes a little guilt can be the fuel you need to make some changes. However, when you find yourself consistently feeling guilty for wanting to say no, needing to take a day off, wanting to treat yourself and wanting to enjoy life; it may be time to evaluate your level of self-compassion.

These tips can help you reframe the way you view self-guilt:

  1. Get in wise mind. Guilt is an emotion and emotions are important in certain situations (loving our spouses, children). Getting in wise mind is the medium between reason and emotion. Wise mind is based off your life experiences and what you know to be true. The next time you are feeling overwhelmed with guilt, ask yourself, “What would wise mind say?”
  2. Say Yes to You. When you say yes to everything and everyone else, you are saying no to someone very important-YOU!! Feeling guilty for saying no to a request may be perceived as “selfish.” Allow me to explain; someone asks you to do something or invites you to an event and for whatever reason you want to decline. But your guilt will not allow you to decline and you say yes to a request and no to yourself. Remember, no one is going to feel guilty for taking from you so don’t you dare feel guilty for taking care of you. I discuss this concept at length here.
  3. Use Guilt for Insight Only. Why do you feel guilty? What changes can you make? If you feel you have genuinely done something wrong, focus on the lesson and allow it to motivate you to embrace being better.
  4. Apologize, Accept and Let It Go. What purpose does the guilt serve in your life? How is your guilt helping your current situation? If you have done something wrong to someone; apologize and let it go. If someone is not ready to accept your apology; accept this as a part of their healing process. Allow them the time and space they need and work toward letting it go. Your guilt will not help the situation.

 

Do not put yourself on trial and render a “guilty verdict” for every decision you make. Remember self-compassion and self- guilt cannot co-exist. It is impossible to truly take care of yourself while feeling guilty for taking care of yourself.

Feel free to contact Sharise Hemby-Nance at vitaminchealing@gmail.com.

*Serious inquires only