Several studies warn how stress can take a negative toll on your overall health. Stress can make you sick, leading to a chronic range of diseases. People can develop diabetes, heart disease, and an increased risk of heart attack and stroke and can suffer anxiety, sleeplessness, and depression. Stress can even make you fat, producing excessive levels of cortisol. Cortisol is a steroid hormone produced by the zona fasciculata of the adrenal gland. It is released in response to stress and a low level of blood glucocorticoids. Its primary functions are to increase blood sugar, suppress the immune system, and aid in fat, protein, and carbohydrate metabolism. It also decreases bone formation. A continuous suppression of immune system functions leaves a person open to illness.
Health officials suggest finding effective ways to manage stress. Perhaps, if you are especially overwhelmed, you should consider taking a day off, taking a mental health day to regroup. Ferris Bueller took a day off, recognizing that every once in a while you have to slow down and enjoy the pleasure of life. People need a healthy balance of work and play. Too much of either is never good. But studies have shown that people in especially precarious economic times will hoard their vacation time instead of using it. This leads to an overworked, burnt out employee.
It may seem counterproductive to play hooky from work or from whatever activity is stressing you out. Your first instinct may be to feel guilty for taking the time for yourself. But when you are excessively stressed out, creativity and performance suffer. Taking a day off to rejuvenate means you’ll likely return ready to work more effectively.
Theworkplacetherapist.com suggests signs you need to take a mental health day: You’re suddenly not sleeping well or have developed insomnia. You can’t shake last week’s stress. In other words, your level of stress is greater than your current stressors. You’re snippy with your spouse, your kids, or your co-workers. You feel a general sense of apathy and don’t care about your work.
How to spend you day? Whatever you decide to do with your day off depends entirely on what relaxes you. The goal is to feel less anxious at the end of the day. Catch up on sleep, read, or listen to music. Consider scheduling a massage ahead of time for your day off, and treat yourself. If you are overwhelmed by things that need to be taken care of, like a home repair project, take the day to tackle them. If you feel disconnected from loved ones, take a day or two to reconnect and catch up.