While you may love your job, life may be throwing you several curve balls right now. You find it hard to focus at work, and you do not feel as productive as you usually do. Is it ok for you to use a sick day to recuperate if you are not physically ill? 

CNN explores the legitimacy of mental health days. Understand how to take care of yourself without feeling guilty about missing work. 

Self-care is essential  

You have likely heard about self-care in the past few years. Essentially, it is the practice of taking out time to mentally and emotionally check-in with yourself and take steps to improve your mental health. Depending on your lifestyle, life events and the demands of your job, you may forget to occasionally stop and ask yourself how you are doing. Feeling stressed, burnt out or anxious may justify a mental health day. 

“Occasional” should not become “constant” 

Your employer may not mind giving you a mental health day off here and there, but if an occasional mental health day becomes more like a weekly event, your employer may hesitate to allow the cycle to continue. If you find yourself taking several consistent mental health days, it may be time to consider seeing a mental health specialist. You may have undiagnosed depression, anxiety or something similar. 

Untapped mental health resources  

Depending on your company, there could be mental health resources at your disposal. Ask HR about meditation classes, employee assistance classes and similar resources. 

Co-worker considerations  

Before taking a mental health day, ask yourself how your absence impacts your co-workers. Will someone have to complete your tasks? Will you miss a vital meeting in your absence? 

Even if you can take a personal day off for mental health reasons, do so the right way. Make things easier on yourself and your employer.