It's Okay to Take a Mental Health Day Even During a Pandemic

August 12, 2020 Mahevash Shaikh

I know it's okay to take a mental health day during a pandemic because yesterday afternoon, I unraveled. I couldn't move, I couldn't eat, all I could do was crawl in bed and breathe. And that's how I spent the rest of the day. 

What brought on this surge in depression? A lot of things, not all of which were in my control, but was it my fault I fell apart? Absolutely. I hadn't been taking adequate measures to deal with depression in proportion to the increasing mental toll of the coronavirus. Sometimes, even us mental health bloggers do not take as much care of our mental health as we should -- that's how deep-rooted the stigma against mental illness is.

Taking a Mental Health Day When 'Others Have It Worse'

Medical workers, essential workers, and anyone on the frontlines of this pandemic have it really bad. Those who have contracted or lost someone to the virus, those who have lost employment, etc., are struggling as well. The global economy is a bigger mess than usual too, so it's easy to understand why many of us are pushing ourselves to work hard. I've seen friends and strangers endorsing hustle culture and "pandemic productivity" even though we need to do the exact opposite: take some time off to do less and deal with the multidimensional crisis we are in. 

It's extremely easy to fall for the "others have it worse" trap because we tend to compare ourselves all the time. However, we need to remember that nothing cancels or invalidates the fact that people like you and I are allowed to experience turmoil too. We are human, too, after all. Plus, having a broken brain, thanks to depression, is a serious problem that simply should not be ignored. You may think you can get away with it, especially if you happen to be high-functioning, but eventually, your depression will worsen.

The Stress of Unprecedented Times

So is it okay to take a mental health day even during a pandemic? Yes, it's more than okay to take a mental health day, especially because we are in a pandemic for months now. COVID-19 is an ongoing global crisis with no known cure as yet. It has taken lives, jobs, and our personal freedoms. Owing to lockdowns, our usual coping mechanisms to combat depression, like eating out and traveling, have been cruelly snatched away from us. Worse, we do not know for how long we will have to live in this manner. 

The normal people of the world never got how much we struggle on a daily basis because of depression working against us. We are in a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic now, so we owe it to ourselves more, now than ever, to practice self-care. It's hard to cut down on work, but please, for the sake of whatever you believe in, unbusy at least a little. Take baby steps. Allow yourself to be unproductive. Unwind. Rest. And if you feel your depression getting worse, don't wait till you crash to take a mental health day or, more specifically, a depression day.

Have you been taking adequate time off to deal with depression and stress in general? If not, please make sure you give yourself the self-care you need. You truly are worth it. 

Are you taking mental health days during the pandemic? What are you doing to care for yourself? Share your comments below.

APA Reference
Shaikh, M. (2020, August 12). It's Okay to Take a Mental Health Day Even During a Pandemic, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 18 from

Author: Mahevash Shaikh

Mahevash Shaikh is a millennial blogger, author, and poet who writes about mental health, culture, and society. She lives to question convention and redefine normal. You can find her at her blog and on Instagram and Facebook.

August, 18 2020 at 9:52 am

Couldn't agree more. People I know are abusing alcohol a lot nowadays. We need to live according to the times.

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