First off, what is a mental health day?
If there is anything my history with competitions taught me, it’s that after a particularly stressful or emotionally heavy period, my brain will decide that it can’t be bothered to do anything productive. It will simply stumble over itself.
No matter how much I try to force myself to go through that day’s tasks, I find myself in a slump. A few months ago, I have finally learned to accept that deeming the occasional day a mental health one is necessary and sufficient in order to maintain your pace and productivity.
Isn’t it just a waste of time? How does it help?
To address the first question; not by a long shot could it be a waste of time. If you’re anything like me, you’re just going to beat yourself up over the fact that you can’t get stuff done and that’ll only lead to prolonging the slump you’re in. I’ve been there; the situation doesn’t do much for your mental sanity.
Now, about the second question- it helps by giving you a break. The mere inability to get things done should get you thinking. However, in order to do the actual thinking, you might find a day off to be quite useful. Many times, our brains are too caught up into the thing we’re working so hard for that they just get stuck, in a way.
How do you apply the method?
The Triple P Way. Productive planned procrastination.
I have found that sitting around doesn’t help at all. If you don’t do anything that will keep you hooked, you’ll feel horrible. Instead, if you choose to do something else that you’ve been putting off- be that reading a short novel you’ve been meaning to get through or starting to learn a new language- you’ll be much better off.
If you approach the matter in this way, the method will also help to keep you from thinking about the things you’re taking a break from. It’s one of its most important benefits.
How do you know you need it?
I usually only truly need one after a competition or a huge exam. However, I do get in slumps a lot more often. It’s important to know when taking a mental health day for yourself is beneficial and when it wouldn’t do you any real good.
If you can recover from the slump using means that don’t involve an actual separation from the task, it’s for the better if you approach your problem from there. Using this as an excuse to take a break because you’re not feeling like doing work isn’t an option.
It completely ruins the purpose of the break, really. If the reason you’re not getting work done is that you’re not motivated enough, this isn’t the way for you. You don’t need something to further distract you.
That being said, do be mindful when using this method. Don’t abuse it! I’ve done that mistake in the past- it’s not worth it.
Good luck on whatever slump you’re working to get over!