Normalize taking mental health days

Everyone deserves to take a break as they juggle their daily responsibilities

Courtney Montalvo, Contributing Writer

Our society has opened the conversation about mental health. We have been normalizing that it’s okay to not be okay long enough that mental health days are becoming a prevalent topic in both the professional and educational world. College students especially have a lot on their plates — between juggling school work, deadlines, preparing for the future and maintaining their social life, it can be difficult to find the time to take a break. Many find themselves running and running until eventually they burn out. This can result in failed projects and damaged relationships, leading people to question whether or not mental health days are acceptable excuses for missing work or class.

In recent semesters, some professors at UTSA have established mental health days as excusable absences to support the wellbeing of students. The normalization of mental health days contributes to the development of a future in which the stigma of breaks are broken in both educational institutions and professional environments. For those questioning the validity of mental health days, consider that virtually no one can produce their best results while feeling mentally swamped. It is in the best interest of all involved that everyone takes the time to work on themselves and their happiness.

Mental health days vary depending on what a person finds relaxing. My mental health days usually involve staying in my room all day, watching K-pop survival shows, eating junk food and reading manga. My friend’s mental health day is jogging a mile, pulling weeds and watching Bob the Builder. While these are very different kinds of days, they both provide a specific kind of mental healing that we were each seeking. In a world where we can easily view anyone else’s daily activities, keep in mind that what is relaxing for another person could be completely different to what is relaxing for you. Your activities don’t have to be productive or popular as long as they help you find happiness. 

Remember, it’s okay to need a break every now and then. If you find that you can’t shake stress and often feel overwhelmed, taking a day to do the things you love might just be the best medicine.