As a nation, we’re a bunch of workaholics. We work the longest hours in Europe, a whopping 42.3 hours a week, which is fine but is it ultimately sustainable? We’re not robots after all, so perhaps today is the day to take a sickie. Yes, we know it’s naughty but sick days shouldn’t be just for our physical health, especially with one in five women reporting mental health problems.
The official dictionary definition of a duvet day states it as being “…an unscheduled extra day’s leave from work, taken to alleviate stress or pressure and sanctioned by one’s employer.”
Many employers now offer so many duvet days as a perk and have seen a spike in productivity and a work-life balance.
Talking to the Metro, Ross Tavendale, 30, managing director of Type A Media in London said an introduction of a four-day week to his company has really helped motivate employees. “Our charts show that, since the introduction of four-day weeks in September last year, we are burning really hot with focus on output,” he said.
However, while employers are becoming more open to flexibility and protecting the mental health of their employees, very few actually officially allow duvet days.
This is where the unofficial duvet day – also known as ‘the sickie’ comes in – and while your boss may be annoyed when you call in sick, there are many benefits to be had!
The benefits of taking a break from your normal routine are many. Think about how good you feel after a holiday – well you can have that feeling from just sneaking an odd day off work as well!
So to ease your guilt of that ‘I’m ill and not coming in today’ call, here are some reasons why a duvet day may just help today…
In a recent survey, 36% of respondents cited tiredness as the main reason they’d take a duvet day. If you feel like you need matchsticks to prop open your eyes, consider taking a day off. Being able to rest and get decent sleep will make you more productive back at work, so you’re actually doing your boss a favour…
‘Me time’ is a foreign word for most working mums. You go to work and do stuff for other people. You come home and do stuff for other people. So when’s your downtime? If you’ve had a busy period in your life, taking a spontaneous day off work, and hiding from everyone, can really help your mental wellbeing. Imagine all those hours when you can just satisfy your needs – bliss!
Use your duvet time to have some time away from technology. Don’t feel tempted to log on and answer work emails. Put your phone down and step away from the social media networks. Log out of your Netflix account and stop the binge watching. Unplugging from technology has been scientifically proven to recharge you and improve your sleep, meaning you’ll be bouncing back to work, full of beans after your duvet day.
A survey by Perkbox revealed that 59% of people cite work as their main cause of stress. If you’re dealing with work difficulties, it can be hard to see the wood for the trees when you’re in the midst of everything. Taking a breather away from the office (and weekend commitments) can give you some clarity on a situation. Write down a plan of action on how to ease your stress levels and go back into work with the gumption to sort it out.
Being on a treadmill – commute, work, commute – can tire even the most enthusiastic of people. When everything gets a bit humdrum it’s hard to muster up the passion you once had for your job. A day out from you routine can really revitalise you without the need of an expensive spa visit. Pull on your PJS, snuggle into bed and enjoy giving your body and mind a break.
We’ve all been there – stuck in a job we hate, but unable to find our way through. When you’re on the treadmill of life, it’s difficult to find the time to look for other jobs or get your head into the right place where you can start to look for something better. A day off will give you time to focus and apply for other jobs. It may just be one day, but use it wisely and it could be the start of a whole new life.
Do you have good girl syndrome? A desire to please and toe the line? If so, then you need to step outside the nice girl and release your inner rebel! Sure if you take loads of sickies (especially if they’re every Monday) you may get into trouble, but one day off work isn’t going to stop the world spinning. Being a rebel means leaving behind what feels safe and comfortable, so if you always say yes, try saying ‘sod it’ and see what happens. It may give you some perspective and inspire you!
Is your weekend crammed pack full of ferrying children around to various clubs and social events, sorting out the housework, catching up on the laundry – and also possibly responding to work emails? If so, your brain is going to suffer. Research has shown that downtime actually makes you a better worker. Working long hours will eventually cause your brain to dry up – and if you’re going through the menopause your brain fog is probably already hindering brain function! Take a day to literally do nothing and see how much better you feel the next day at work.
When winter hits, it suddenly seems so much harder to get out of bed in the morning. And the thought of hitting the gym after a day in the office? No thanks. In fact, you probably feel like you just want to curl up in your bed and go to sleep, so why not go and do just that? While as humans we don’t have a natural need to hibernate, it is natural with the shorter days and colder weather to feel sleepier and less inclined to go outside.
Embrace the Danish way of living -hygge – and spend a day cosied up in blankets, sipping on hot chocolate and you may find that it’s easier to spring out of bed the next day. Obviously if you feel this way for a length of time, it may be that you have Seasonal Affective Disorder, so make an appointment with your GP.
Yeah, of course you can actually take a sick day because you’re poorly. But where’s the fun in that?!
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