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Sometimes We Just Need a Break: Why Mental Health Days are Important

Jami Citko, staff

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Monday again. You slowly rise from your bed and mentally prepare for the horror about to befall you. You think about all of the work that will pile up on your desk. You peer out the window, hoping for snow or a freak storm, wishing you could just take a break from the daily stress of school.

But what if you didn’t have to wish? What if you had a chance to stay home, catch up, and enjoy life for once? If schools would allow students to take a personal day off every now and then, our mental and emotional states would improve and we would be better prepared to take on future challenges.

In Lisa Belkin’s New York Times article “Mental Health Days from School,” she describes how her 7-year-old daughter convinced Belkin to let her stay home from school. Despite the deceit, Belkin expressed that she was not angry, but “actually a little pleased for her. [She] seems confident to know that if she takes a day off to relax and collect her thoughts, the world will still be there tomorrow.”

Belkin’s daughter may have skipped school, but it wasn’t without reason. Students are faced with everyday stress, which, according to Victoria Tennant of John’s Hopkins University, “can be destructive to physical and mental health.” A short break from school helps relieve some of this stress and ensure a healthier lifestyle.

In Elizabeth Scott’s VeryWell.com article “When and How to Take a Mental Health Day,” she expresses that taking a day off  “can provide a much-needed break to pause, regroup, and come back with greater levels of energy and a fresh, less-stressed perspective.”

Although Scott’s article refers to work rather than school, it can be applied to both. Adults take mental health days for the same reasons as students, and neither should be ashamed of needing time to relax and prepare for future responsibilities.

The main worry here is that if students are given time off of school they take advantage of it, claiming to be absent for reasons that aren’t true. However, if mental health days did become excused absences this problem could be solved by only allowing a few each year.

Students will always experience stress, but one day of relaxation can make a big difference in improving their mental health. I urge parents to allow their children a day off every once in awhile, and I encourage adults to do the same if they can. School systems may not be ready to change their absence policies just yet, but hopefully in the near future students will be allowed a few days per year to relax and prepare for the road ahead.

 

 

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Sometimes We Just Need a Break: Why Mental Health Days are Important