Health Female Adda
1 year ago
The Health Benefits of Playing Hooky


Fever, sore throat, stuffy nose … You have none of these symptoms, but you’re still calling out sick.

Turns out you’re not the only one playing hooky. According to a new CareerBuilder survey, 30 percent of workers admitted to calling out sick when they weren't actually under the weather. While some of the excuses mentioned in the survey were incredibly ridiculous—like, “my dog is having a nervous breakdown”—the mental health benefits of taking time off from work are serious business.

“Single ‘mental health days’ can help us compensate for and heal from the impacts of work-related stress,” says Jon Belford, PhD, a New York City-based psychologist. “Given the heavy demands of many peoples’ home lives, it can be difficult to get this time in the evenings or weekends,” Belford adds.

Ideally, you shouldn’t have to fake an illness to get the time off you need and deserve. “You want an employer who gives you a reasonable number of personal days and is flexible enough with time off that when you really need to take a day for yourself, you can—without resorting to deception,” says Alison Green, author of the popular Ask a Manager blog.

Reality check: not everyone has such an understanding boss. If your supervisor’s managerial style mirrors that of Miranda Priestly’s from The Devil Wear Prada, you’ll need these tips on how to call out sick without getting caught.

Don’t over-sell it. When you’re really sick, you don’t feel the need to explain yourself or give a play-by-play of your bathroom visits. “Volunteering too many details about your symptoms is a big red flag,” Green says. “Just say you’re sick—nothing more. Your employer doesn’t need—and shouldn’t require—details beyond that.”

Skip the Oscar-wining performance. You’re likely not an actress, so chances are your boss will hear right through your fake-sick voice. “You want to do this as ethically as possible, which means keeping the deception to a minimum,” Green says. “If you start getting into Ferris Bueller-like antics, you're really compromising your integrity.”

Don’t become a repeat caller. Once or twice a year is believable. Once or twice a month is not. “If you're regularly calling out at the last minute, you'll be seen as unreliable—regardless of the stated reason for your absence,” Green says. Choose your days wisely.

photo: Comstock/Thinkstock

More from WH:
31 Ways to Instantly Relax
Are You Sitting Too Much?
Reboot Your Work Health

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