September 7, 2014

A HANDY RULE OF THUMB (self-reference alert)

4 Signs You Need to Take a Mental Health Day (JESSICA STILLMAN, 8/26/14, INC)
Here's the good news about mental health and the workplace: It's starting to get more of the attention it deserves. Thanks to pioneering journalism and stigma-busting public discussion of mental health issues by members of the entrepreneurship community, the toll starting a business can take on your mental health and the seemingly high prevalence of struggles with depression among founders are starting to come out in the open.

But while more and more people are willing to talk about and prioritize their mental health, many remain unwilling to actually even take the smallest steps to safeguard their sanity, reports Drake Baer on Business Insider recently.

"Lots of folks get cold feet when it comes to taking that needed three-day weekend," Baer writes before offering common excuses we give ourselves for not taking the time we need to maintain our mental balance--such as fears it will hold back our careers or misguided notions that those with a bit of scheduling flexibility (aka freelancers and entrepreneurs) don't need to take time to themselves in the same way regular employees do.

But the simple truth is almost all of us need to schedule special time to unwind and de-stress every once in awhile, according to a recent pieces on Fox News from health writer Laurie Tarkan. The article is a sort of guide to taking a mental health day, including suggestions on exactly how best to spend your hours off and how to update colleagues and clients on what you're up to.

Among her practical advice is a helpful list of warning signs that you're dangerously close to running on empty and it might be time for you to consider adding a mental health day to your calendar, gathered from workplace health expert Brandon M. Smith.

Given that one of the effects of overwork is impaired judgment, I like to have a neutral signal to myself that it's time to take some time off.  So I try not to ever have 60 hours more in earned time saved up than I can roll over for the year.  Of course, this year the company raised the number of hours we can roll over to 80--we're Puritans, no one takes time until they have to--so you really have to burn some before you get to 140 banked or you're a liability in the workplace. 

Posted by at September 7, 2014 8:22 AM

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