Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Importance of Mental Health Days After 50

Statistics show Baby Boomers tend to be the most loyal to their jobs. We show up on time and try not to take more days off than necessary. Many of us take pride in never having called out sick.

Well, now that I've returned to the workforce I see the absolute NEED to call out sick---even when I'm not. These are my "Mental Health Days." I am one of those people who rarely gets sick enough to call out but I DO get frustrated enough to take care of my sanity.

If you're over 50 and still working an eight hour, five-days-a-week job, mental health days become EXTREMELY important. Here are some signs you might need to take a day off for your mental health's sake:

YOU AREN’T ENJOYING YOUR WEEKENDS: If the stress of your Monday through Fridays is bleeding into your Saturdays and Sundays, you probably need a day off. It’s normal to get the “Sunday evening blues” as your weekend draws to an end, but if all you can think about is how much you dread going in to work the next day, you need to take another day to re-group and revitalize.

YOU LACK CREATIVITY: When we’re mentally drained, the first thing to go is our creativity. A tired brain results in work that lacks imagination, originality, and resourcefulness. You get used to doing the same things, the same old way. Take a hard look at your last few projects. If they’re missing the creative edge you usually bring to the table, it’s a sign that your mind needs a break.

LITTLE THINGS ARE SETTING YOU OFF: You find yourself snapping at everybody no matter where you are and the smallest things are upsetting. Your co-worker is asking for help and you're frustrated she asked you instead of trying to figure it out for herself first. Never mind the fact that she thinks you're really good at your job and she wants to learn from the best. Also, if you find yourself in an outrage because the person in front of you at the checkout counter is taking too much time to count her exact change, your best course of action is to call in (mentally) sick to work before you snap unnecessarily at someone else.

YOU'RE PLOTTING WAYS TO GET BACK AT YOUR YOUNGER BOSS: Yes, he might be an asshole and he might not treat you with a lot of respect but if you're spending all of your time and energy trying to figure out how to get back at him or get him fired, you might be sending yourself into an early grave. Thinking those negative thoughts all the time can only create stress and we all know stress KILLS.

Try this: the meaner he/she is to you, the nicer you are to them. It is truly a challenge, (trust me because I know first-hand) but if you continue with "positive thoughts" things are surely to turn around in your favor.

YOU'RE BRINGING YOUR WORK HOME EVERYDAY: If you're coming home and still talking and/or thinking about what's going on at your job, you need some mental health intervention. Home is supposed to be a place for sanctuary; a place you can go to forget about the troubles of the day. Home is where you should be relaxing and re-energizing and giving loved ones your undivided attention. If you can't do that, a mental health day should be considered mandatory.

When was the last time you took a mental health day from work? By the way, Mental Health Day is celebrated every year on October 10th.  So be sure to mark your calendar and request the day IN ADVANCE :).