Signs you need a Mental Health Day

Duke Students
3 min readFeb 14, 2023

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By Aasha Paredes

One thing I have noticed about college is that everyone expects you to be productive,

all. the. time.

However, taking a mental health day is okay. In fact, taking a mental health day is one of the most productive things you can do.

So here are some signs you could use a mental health day:

  1. Loss of motivation

Have you ever stared at a Writing 101 assignment for too long without doing anything? You know it’s an important task, yet you cannot muster up the courage to get it done. You procrastinate by spending 2 hours in WU, watch all of the TikToks that @DukeStudents have posted in the past 12 months, and do literally anything but start. Taking a mental health day can restore that motivation and give you a fresh start.

2. Feeling stressed, tired, and/or anxious

Stress can really affect your body in so many ways. After being burnt out for an extended period of time, it can be hard to focus and get a task done no matter how many Cafe chai lattes you ingest. Extended periods of stress also lead to sickness. We often write off a cold when it is really stress weakening the responses of our immune systems.

3. Stop doing the things you love

This could mean you stop going to your favorite yoga class at Brodie, reading outside in Abele Quad, spending time with your friends, etc. When work starts to feel overwhelming, we tend to forget how exciting our hobbies make us feel.

4. Feeling disconnected with your friends and loved ones

Another sign you could use a mental health day is whenever you start to distance yourself from the people you love talking to. You stop reaching out to your friends and tell them you’re busy, or you lash out on family because you get easily irritated.

5. You stop prioritizing self care

This could mean you stop prioritizing eating food, personal hygiene, or sleeping. For example, habits like binging or skipping meals can be due to stress.

Some of Aasha’s favorite ways of practicing self care: spending time with friends or scuba diving with the Kenan Institute of Ethics

Let’s face it, Duke is stressful. No matter what year you are, what classes you are taking, or whether you are balancing being a student and a part-time worker. For me, finding that balance as a freshman has been one of the most difficult parts of transitioning. There are times when you need to step back and put yourself first. Thankfully, Duke has tons of mental health and wellness resources to help whenever you feel like the marathon to get through the semester is getting too overwhelming.

Taking a mental health day can be as simple as a night in watching Netflix with your bestest friends. Sometimes the body and mind just need to relax and rest; so indulge in late nights at Pitchforks, try the pilates classes in Wilson, have a picnic right outside the Chapel, or have a laid-back day by doing a whole lot of nothing.

Another great article from the Chronicle summarizes a ton of the available mental health and wellness resources at your disposal here!

Best of luck to everyone this semester!

Aasha is a freshmen and first year @Dukestudents intern. When she isn’t exploring Durham to find the next best brunch spot, you can find her studying neuroscience in WU. She loves traveling and finding new ways to improve her health and wellbeing, and she enjoys passing that advice onto others.

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