How to Take a Mental Health Day for Your Personality Type
Your mental health matters. May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and in that spirit, we at 16Personalities would like to remind you that you’re not alone and that mental illness is an issue that affects people worldwide and all personality types, from empathetic Mediators (INFP) to steel-willed Executives (ESTJ).
We all need to take care of our mental well-being, but not necessarily in the same way. We’d like to discuss how you might pursue a mental health day, based on your personality type. We believe that a mental health day is very much about stress reduction and joyfulness, both of which can have very different meanings for different types. At the end of your mental health day, you should feel a sense of lightness or freedom, reenergized and reinspired to take on your life.
Architects need time alone to figure things out. But these personalities can be prone to ruminating on negative thoughts – especially if they’re frustrated that things aren’t going to plan – a situation that can take them to dark places.
Instead of dwelling on things that are in the past, if you’re an Architect, try moving forward by learning something new just for fun. You are a person who places a premium on individual learning, so what could be a better pick-me-up than to spend a mental health day learning a new coding technique, reading up on the latest political strategies, or diving into something else that stimulates your analytical instincts?
Logicians are the most likely of all personality types to go into “auto-pilot,” meaning that they’re not fully involved in what they’re doing because their mind is elsewhere. This tendency means that they sometimes miss out on experiences that could help bring their mind to full awareness or help them achieve mental, emotional, and physical balance.
As a Logician, you can remedy this by trying to mindfully concentrate on activities that you love throughout your mental health day. You might count how many steps you take during a hike, pay attention to how you’re breathing while you meditate, or slowly taste and savor the many flavors in your favorite comfort dish.
Commanders are one of the personalities most likely to not back down during trying times. Due to this tenacity, taking a mental health day may feel like the ultimate sin. But even Commanders need a break sometimes.
For Commanders, we recommend that you plan ahead to ensure that you take the time you need to recharge. Schedule in a day dedicated to stress relief. This could be something relaxing, like getting a deep-tissue massage or spending an afternoon at the golf course, or something more task-oriented, like tackling a long-postponed household chore – after all, nothing is quite as satisfying for a Commander as accomplishing a goal. The important thing is to do something that leaves you feeling reinvigorated.
Debaters need variety. They need space to think, to ramble, and to explore their ideas, and they reserve the right to do all these things. The risk is that spending so much time wrapped up in intellectual musing and arguments can separate these personalities too much from the feelings of other people and from their own emotions.
If you’re a Debater, you should allow yourself to do whatever you want on your mental health day. You will do well to remember, however, that limitless exploration is only healthy in moderation – which is why you might want to set a limit of two or three hours for free-flowing time. Try a creative new activity with friends, but try to keep your opinions in check – loosening up a little can go a long way.
Advocates are the most likely of all personality types to spend a lot of time reflecting on things and to suppress their emotions in favor of others’ well-being. While their introspection and altruism gives them a deep, insightful nature, it can also have a harmful effect when they find themselves without an outlet for their personal needs and emotions.
If you’re an Advocate and you find yourself getting burned out, a mind filled with self-questioning and other people’s worries probably won’t make you feel better. To remedy this, set aside time to reconnect with your own needs and joys. Afterward, take the day to accomplish tasks that you need to get done for yourself or that you find comforting, whether it’s cleaning, shopping, yoga, drawing, or some other pursuit.
Mediators desire simplicity. They’re also one of the most likely personality types to feel overwhelmed by everyone else’s problems. So during times of trouble, these deep-feeling types should consider turning to the uncomplicated joys in their life to lighten the emotional load.
For Mediators, we suggest revisiting childhood favorites. That might mean watching an animated film, digging up your mother’s old recipes, or listening to a soundtrack you created in your younger years – anything that will bring you back to a safe, joyful mental space.
Protagonists love helping others, and because of this, they may feel guilty taking a day off. But taking a break doesn’t mean that these personalities have to stop helping others completely.
As a Protagonist, how you choose to refresh depends on your energy level. If helping others won’t feel draining and brings you genuine joy, inspiration, and satisfaction, then there is no reason why you shouldn’t use your mental health day to assist others – maybe spend it helping a close friend or loved one who you haven’t seen in a while. If you feel like you’re getting burned out, however, then try a day supporting yourself instead by taking time to reconnect to other activities that you enjoy.
Campaigners find strength in community and collaboration. They will never let someone else suffer if there’s something they can do about it. In fact, Campaigners are the most likely of all personality types to discourage friends from dwelling on negative thoughts.
If you’re a Campaigner, you may feel responsible for the happiness of others. When you’re feeling down yourself, however, you may need to let go of your “happy” facade and allow yourself to feel your own emotions. Try spending your mental health day with an honest yet affectionate friend and let yourself vent, cry, be quiet, celebrate, or whatever else suits your mood. Later, try an activity that makes you smile just by thinking about it: ice-cream party! Flamenco dancing! Netflix binge! Or just go out and make some new friends.
Logisticians pride themselves on their reliability and take their personal responsibilities seriously, but if they don’t take care of themselves too, they can become overstrained. Considering that these personalities are the most likely to take a careful and methodical approach to life, they’ll probably want to plan out their entire mental health day.
Logisticians like you are usually at their most relaxed when they’re given time to do an activity that involves clear instructions and leaves little room for guesswork. This could be something as simple as mowing the lawn or gardening, or perhaps something more leisurely like a bike ride or a stroll through the park. Using your mental health day to get caught up on a project that you haven’t had time for is an option too. Allow yourself to enjoy the comfort of familiarity.
Defenders are always there to help protect and support their friends and family through their problems, but over time, that can become a heavy burden to bear. Defender personalities give so much of themselves that, unless they tend to their own needs, they may reach a mental or emotional breaking point.
If you’re an overstressed Defender, it could be helpful to spend time on a beloved hobby that you’ve been neglecting – clarinet, knitting, tennis, or anything else that tickles your fancy. After taking some time for yourself, join your loved ones in a way that you find rewarding. Since you may feel that your work is never done, set aside a few minutes on your mental health day to write down some of the things you’ve done to benefit others, just to help yourself appreciate all the work you really do.
Executives, much like Commanders, are reluctant to take a break, even if it’s for their own mental health. They’re the most likely personality type, in fact, to say that they rarely fail to finish what they start. But being the model citizen all the time can become exhausting for anyone if they don’t take time to relax once in a while.
To have an effective mental health day, all you may need to do as an Executive is set aside your obligations and just have fun for a few hours – have brunch with friends, enjoy a night out with your significant other, or even take the time to read a book that’s been on your list. Afterward, if you feel rested enough, then you can spend the rest of the day reorganizing your priorities and planning out solutions to the issues that are weighing on your mind the most.
Although Consuls are the most likely of all personalities to feel in touch with themselves and to be satisfied with their life, they can still experience burnout and stress like everyone else. This is especially true if tensions have arisen in their personal relationships, as these sensitive, conflict-averse types can easily feel hurt by criticism from others.
If you’re a Consul, you may be so used to supporting others that giving yourself even small amounts of time to destress may seem like a foreign concept. You may feel more comfortable connecting with others than spending time alone. We recommend getting together with a friend to do a fun activity – perhaps a DIY craft, playing with pets, or a picnic in the park.
For Virtuosos, mental health days may already be a way of life. Perhaps more than any other personality type, when Virtuosos get overwhelmed with obligations or frustrated by overly structured environments, they know that they need to take time to get to the things they love – or simply move on to something new.
As a Virtuoso, you know what you love, but you probably also feel the urge to switch things up sometimes. For a mental recharge, dive into your favorite activities or check out a new interest they you’ve been dying to explore. You may want to spend your time tinkering, playing a beloved video game, or enjoying any other activity that simply allows you to be yourself – either alone or with others who share your interests.
Adventurers are artistic and passionate, but they can get easily stressed out by the practical demands of the world, which is understandable considering that they spend much of their energy struggling against a system that tries to box them in. Fluctuating self-esteem is always a concern with this personality type.
To effectively recuperate and reenergize, Adventurers like you should give themselves time and space, allowing themselves to become reinspired by the world around them, instead of discouraged by it. You mustn’t try to force creative energy, though – that can be counterproductive. But strolling through an art exhibit, exploring a new city, listening to treasured songs from the past, and other diversions can help you reconnect with yourself and recharge.
Entrepreneurs really want to be where the action is. These personalities would rather reenergize than relax. Spontaneous, lively, and attracted to risk, Entrepreneurs often neglect to acknowledge and express their emotions, which can contribute to a sense that something is off.
If you’re an Entrepreneur, you’ll probably want to use your mental health day to be active, go outside, and release your emotions through exercise. Perhaps head to the beach, find a friendly pickup game, or go play racquetball at the gym. But bear in mind that if you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, it may be because your fast-paced lifestyle is catching up with you – a quiet day at home might give you the time you need to catch your breath so you’re ready to get back out there tomorrow.
Entertainers are enthusiastic personalities who like to keep life interesting. They don’t like dwelling on their issues, usually preferring to let out their emotions and move on. But they may find that their troubles and worries get the better of them if they’re ignored for too long or aren’t dealt with in earnest.
As an Entertainer, you might be used to relying on friends and loved ones to help you through tough times. Going out with a friend for a “venting” session on your mental health day could help you feel better, but try to allow some time and space for personal reflection too. Later, if you’re feeling more at ease, you can show the world why your personality type is called “Entertainer” by painting the town red with a couple of pals.
For more thoughts on how to promote mental well-being or to see more research on the topic, check out some of our related articles: Finding Authenticity, Don’t Worry, Be Happy, or Me Time: Making Time for Yourself by Personality Type. We can’t say it enough: your mental health matters. If you’re struggling with serious issues, we encourage you to reach out for professional help.
How do you feel about these suggestions? Might they benefit you in your pursuit of mental well-being? Have you found other strategies that work for your personality type? Share your thoughts in our Mental Health Day Survey.