The Importance of Mental Health Days

Exhausted, overwhelmed, extremely emotional. Those are all things I have felt lately as I have been pushing myself, probably too hard, in several directions while at the same time fending off a depressive episode. So thankfully I get to take a mental health day from posting this week, since we have a guest blogger posting about mental health days!

Guest blogger JM brings us a different voice and makes an astute observation in the line “Our current culture emphasizes labor and productivity, often at the expense of our energy and even happiness.” This is a perceptive piece about the importance of re-charging our emotional batteries and also, of music (which has been proven by science to be deeply linked to mood and memory). It even includes a playlist, most of which I am unfamiliar with, so will have to check it out.

I’m definitely interested in hearing from different voices and perspectives and having some more guest bloggers. E-mail me at if you’re interested.

JM writes:

“When I was in high school, my mom let me and my brother have “mental health days” to take time off from school when we needed it. This meant that if we were feeling stressed, overworked, or overwhelmed one day, we could declare a mental health day and stay home – no questions asked. My mom trusted us to not abuse the system, and that allowed us the freedom to listen to our bodies and minds and take breaks when we really needed them.

I never had to fake being sick to get out of having to go to school when I needed a break, and for that I’m grateful. It turns out that going to school or work for eight hours a day, five times a week, every week, can sometimes be exhausting. Who knew?

Everyone needs mental health days once in a while. Some people may need them more frequently than others. Our current culture emphasizes labor and productivity, often at the expense of our energy and even happiness. We can even feel guilty for wanting to take time off or needing a break, even though we’re not machines and need time to rest and recharge.

The important thing is to try to look out for your mental health just as you would for your physical health. In fact, mental health and physical health usually go hand in hand. When you’re tired and have low energy, your mood suffers. When your mood suffers, you become tired and have low energy. So next time someone says “it’s all in your head,” feel free to set the record straight.

One thing I find very soothing is to listen to my favorite music when I’m having a rough day. Now, this is by no means a cure, but it is certainly a comfort. I have an entire playlist on Spotify featuring my favorite songs – 500 of them. I love songs that make me want to dance and sing along, songs that feel like a hug, songs that remind me of memories with my friends. Like the famous poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once said, “Music is the universal language of mankind.” And we all know that poets are always right.

Without further ado, here are some of the songs on my “feel good” playlist that I’d highly recommend you listen to on your next mental health day:

1. “Tongue Tied” by Grouplove

This is my all-time favorite upbeat song. It reminds me of summer, which may be because it’s also on my summer playlist. This is one of the only songs I never skip.

2. “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” by Tears for Fears

This one’s a classic. It’s a great song to listen to in the car with the windows rolled down. You know those songs that make you feel like you’re in a music video when you listen to them? This is one of them.

3. “Mr. Brightside” by The Killers

It may be a little overplayed and repetitive, but I could never get tired of this song. It’s a great song to sing along to in the shower (or anywhere, really).

4. “A Kiss” by THE DRIVER ERA

Here’s a song by my favorite band that always makes me want to get up and dance. I’d also recommend THE DRIVER ERA’s entire discography, because again, it is my favorite band.

5. “Somewhere Only We Know” by Keane

This is a slower song, and I tend not to like slower songs, but this one is an exception. The lyrics are very melancholy and sweet, making it the perfect song to sing your heart out to.

6. “Love My Way” by The Psychedelic Furs

My mom loves this song, and so do I. It’s very comforting to listen to, and it’s an ‘80s song, so it’s right up my alley.

7. “Face Down In The Gutter Of Your Love” by Dent May

This is a song that always reminds me of my best friend. It’s our song. It often gets stuck in my head right after I listen to it, and so sometimes I find myself humming the tune without even realizing it.

8. “I’m Still Here (Jim’s Theme)” by John Rzeznik

This one comes from a scene from my favorite movie of all time, Treasure Planet, that may or may not make me cry every time I watch it. Seriously, though, it’s a beautiful movie, and this is a beautiful song.”

One thought on “The Importance of Mental Health Days

  1. I sooo relate to this blog! I figure if I’m not burnt out, I’m not worth anything. It’s such a tough mindset to change. I love the songs you listed and loved the example of that guy being allowed to have a “mental health day”. As an Asian, I was taught in my childhood that unless I was in hospital or had a PROVEN illness, I should be at school/work.


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