Living Out Loud

Taking a Mental Health Day

mental health day sign

I elected to take half a mental health day today, and it was well-received. I have missed less than a handful of days from work since starting at my current job in 2022. Summers are typically low-key in my environment, higher education. I believe in workers taking care of themselves while simultaneously avoiding shirking, which can negatively impact their colleagues. Rest assured, I left no part of my own workload on anyone else's shoulders this afternoon. At most, someone might have had to handle a phone call or two that I might have otherwise taken.

I was feeling somewhat stressed after a staff meeting where I reported some issues with our current workflows. Nothing too significant, just some unscheduled and unannounced downtime for some of our customers due to unexpected updates being pushed out. I also felt the need to press the boss for clarification on a few points, putting him in the position of making some decisions instead of merely discussing the need for decisions. It was probably about a 3 out of 10 on the tension scale, but given that our meetings are usually a 1 out of 10, it was more tense than normal.

Wonder Woman was working from home today, so I didn't get to see her at lunch like I usually do, something that typically rejuvenates me. As I sat eating alone, I decided to claim a headache and take PTO for the afternoon. My boss, bless him, readily agreed. He's truly a good guy.

When I got home, Wonder Woman was busy handling work matters. She was slightly surprised to see me since I don't make a habit of taking time off. Wanting to avoid interrupting her and potentially hampering her progress, I did what I almost always do when I take time off: I slept. It's my second favorite pastime after blogging. I'm not a good night sleeper, and a large lunch followed by a lack of coffee is a surefire recipe for a nap.

Upon waking, I had time to catch up on the internet for a few minutes before starting the nightly routine. I usually cook while my wife prepares our lunches for the next workday. We eat together, watch an hour of TV, and then I begin writing while she sits beside me on the couch with her iPad. As a dedicated ultra-marathon woman in training, she is in bed by 8 PM. I stay awake a little bit longer but usually follow along fairly quickly, which is where we are at now.

Whenever I have been in a position to offer advice to friends or coworkers over the years, I have always advocated for self-care. The job will wait; people come first. Today, I practiced what I preach, and I'm glad I did. It will undoubtedly make the rest of the week better.


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