SEATTLE — Mental health concerns may be the reason people are calling in sick for work.

Worker burnout is at a record high, according to Dr. Jennifer Pfeuffer, a psychology professor at Bastyr University.

With more public figures such as Simone Biles and Michael Phelps talking openly about mental health, the professor said more people are feeling comfortable acknowledging the issue.

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Pfeuffer said there is a smart way to take a mental health day and to use it effectively.

Mental health days have been around for a long time but Pfeuffer said people may not fully understand what a mental health day should look like and when to know you need one.

Signs you need a mental health day:

  • Agitation
  • Frustration
  • Outbursts
  • Feeling numb
  • Isolation

Pfeuffer suggests you do certain things during a mental health day to make it count. Some recommendations include making time to sleep, catching up on errands and reconnecting with yourself.

Using the time to have an exploration day is also recommended