Nurses Need Mental Health Days | | New Jersey State Nurses Association

Nurses Need Mental Health Days

 In Nurses Weekly

We all need a break. No matter how much you love your job; how well you perform; how much of a difference you feel you are making, we all need to take some time to care for our mental health. If you are not at 100%, you cannot adequately care for your patients. Self-care is equally as important as being compliant with your blood pressure medication or insulin. So, when should you take a mental health day?

4 Reasons to Take a Break

Distraction: When you’re distracted, whether work-related or not, you should promptly tackle the situation. It is easy to be at work yet have your focus elsewhere. Taking a day or two away from the stresses of your job can be helpful in regaining control of your wellbeing. 

Neglect: Like batteries, we need to be charged. Our minds and bodies often need boosts of energy. If you have been neglecting yourself, use a mental health day for some self-care. Go to the spa, get that massage you’ve been delaying, shop, visit that family member or friend whom you’ve missed. Take this time to do something for yourself.

Appointments: Just as we educate our patients, nurses need to be proactive. Take a mental health day (or two) to visit your physician, therapist, counselor, spiritual leader, etc. Taking time off to address your mental health needs is instrumental in helping you function at your best.

Physical Health: The World Health Organization (WHO) states, “there is no health without mental health.” Poor mental health is a risk factor for chronic physical ailments. When your mental health begins to affect your physical health, you should definitely use a mental health day to care for yourself. Neglecting your mental health can lead to serious health complications such as:

  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Weakened immune system
  • Asthma
  • Obesity
  • Gastronomical problems
  • Premature death

We’ve all heard the adage “pressure makes diamonds.” This is not the case when it comes to the mental health of nurses. It has become expected that a nurse should work well under pressure. That is irrational and not a safe expectation. Taking a mental health day can be beneficial in reducing some of the occupational hazards nurses face daily. I firmly believe if we save nurses, we will save health care.

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