Sunday, January 29, 2023 | Rajab 6, 1444 H
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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

Mental health vacation!

Two and a half years after the spread of the Corona virus pandemic, we notice that fatigue still exists among people and between workers and employees, until the pressure increased in the workplace, despite the fact that the daily routine has become somewhat (normal). What really caught my attention here is how some of the young generations , beginning to look for a special day – for their mental health!-: Is that the occasional holiday justified as necessary to maintain happiness. I think here, in principle there might be a day off for mental health or stress rest!


Yet this mental health day, while well-intentioned, is not a permanent solution to the chronic fatigue, pessimism and feelings of ineffectiveness that are signs of burnout. If we really want to improve the mental health of workers – for example – or any employee and address widespread fatigue, we need to make much greater changes to the way the work is done in those institutions, whatever they are.


It’s true that reducing work In general can help prevent burnout. This is probably because workload is one of the main aspects of a job in which (mismatch) between a person and his work can lead to burnout! Not to mention, several medical studies confirmed that taking more rest days per month was associated with a lower prevalence of burnout in healthcare workers-for Instance-.


But honestly, does anyone agree on the details of what mental health day is? For some employees, it may be a formal pool of paid leave that they can take advantage of whenever they like. Others, for whom their employer’s policy may not provide such leave, call for the occasional mental health day as a kind of de facto sick leave. Either way, the issue is the basic is that a single day off is not the same as a consistently lighter schedule. It’s a temporary Band-Aid fix, not a long-term solution that will make an employee’s daily life more manageable.


Hence, I assert here that the occasional mental health days are good things, but they have little effect on burnout. If people return to the same inconsistencies that drove them to burnout, then only a little time will be a relief. What I mean is that mental health days are not a (quick fix) for people with anxiety or obsessive-compulsive disorders. In fact, if they avoid their job out of fear without taking other steps to treat their condition, returning to the workplace may become more difficult. Even going to therapy can be a healthy reason to take regular time away from work. But treatment, not vacation, is what helps a person improve!


In the end, to fix fatigue on a large scale, we’ll need to look at the work itself. Employers should allocate manageable workloads with plenty of vacation days combined – if I may say so-.As a society, we should also be open to trying new work structures. Four workdays per week, for example, can reduce burnout without sacrificing productivity. So time off work is useful, but inevitably employees deserve something much better than a mental health day: it Jobs that do not strain their mental health in the first place!


Dr Yousuf Ali Al Mulla is a physician, medical innovator and writer.


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