Whether you're in school, working in the corporate world or running your own business, I'm a supporter of mental health days. These aren't days where you skip out on responsibility just because you feel like it. These are days when you can't focus, feel exhausted and know you need a break.
Taking a day off is especially challenging for entrepreneurs. Each hour we don't work, we miss out on money. Most entrepreneurs don't take vacation days, personal days, or sick days for the first 1-3 years while they're getting their business up and running. It took me almost a full year to feel comfortable taking a 3 day vacation, and I still scramble to make up the hours and feel guilty for not being available for my clients.
There was a day last month when I knew I needed a mental health day. I woke up feeling down, irritable and unmotivated. My writing was uninspired, so I worked on little tasks. I had two appointments (dentist and orthopedist) who both told me my pain is caused from stress. I'm grinding my teeth at night (despite wearing a mouth guard) and irritating my tendinitis by working too much. (Stress and working too much are likely not the cause of my tendinitis, but is keeping it inflamed.)
So I took the day off, for the most part. I tried to exercise to boost endorphins and then ended up going to our local frozen yogurt bar and ate nothing but sugar for dinner. I read a new book on my kindle and took 2 naps. But you know what? By 8pm I felt rejuvenated. Was it just a hormonal thing? Or did taking the afternoon to relax help? It's hard to say, but when I woke up the next morning inspired and raring to go- I didn't care which it was that helped me.
I know there's a lot of advice out there saying that the only way to make it as an entrepreneur is to push through the days you don't feel like working, write even if you're uninspired, etc. I want to challenge that just a little.
[Tweet "Take days off to get re-motivated + rejuvenated. Mental health days are vital."]
Do something different from your normal routine.
If you're sick, take the time off to get better. Build vacations into your schedule. Block them out in advance. Set your blog and social media posts up in advance, or ask for some guest post while you're out.
You NEED this time. It's too easy to burn out, between trying to keep up with writing, advertising, connecting, learning.
Stop feeling guilty for taking time off. New experiences and relaxation open you up to new ideas and possibilities, and those are what will take your business to the next level.
Do you take mental health days? If you're an entrepreneur, how do you handle vacation time?