More than 200 years ago, the Bill of Rights outlined the “pursuit of happiness” as a basic human right for Americans. It’s almost as if the founding fathers anticipated the need for employees to take mental health days.
But we don’t have to go back 200 years to find meaningful statistics that impact today’s workers. In fact, since the 1970s the average work day has increased, while leisure time has sharply declined.
In present-day America, we face new challenges in an ever-changing work environment and workers demand flexibility.
But for employers who are playing hard to get by denying simple liberties like taking a day off, employees have a game all their own.
It’s called: Let’s Play Hooky from Work. And it’s won by beating the system and taking a much needed day off. Here’s how.
1. Act Like a Sick Person
We aren’t advocating lying, but if you feel sick from stress inside, perhaps a little theatrics are in order to outwardly display your internal distress? Acting sick is a good way to ensure you can play hooky from work.
If your business implements this service, you can de-stress the right way without missing an important business call upon your return.
2. Meet Deadlines or Delegate Work Load
Most Americans feel like their employers demand too much from a sacred few people within a given organization.
But if you are one of those people with a million spinning plates in the air, a mental health day from work could mean they all end up shattered on the ground.
To avoid this problem, meet your deadlines before you leave work for the day. And, for Pete’s sake, do yourself a favor and learn to delegate.
3. Make It a Staycation
Close your eyes and think about the one place you could access that feels the least like work. Then go there!
Maybe it’s the beach, a monument, a movie theatre or a hiking trail.
Whatever the case, if you’re going to use one of your limited days off of work to unwind, make it holiday-worthy.
4. Beware of Social Creep
If you decide to play hooky from work, social media is public enemy number one.
That’s because social media apps can date and time stamp you having margaritas at your favorite tiki bar when you should be at work monitoring students who are taking The Bar.
Unfortunately, the internet never forgets.
Avoid social media usage and be cautious of those in your party who are using social media to document their day. If you do find that you have to post something, make sure your location services are turned off and limit photos.
5. Be a Credible and Reliable Employee
We get it. Everyone needs a break from time to time and you’re no different.
Use a proven record of hard work and being punctual to be the kind of employee few people question when the need arises for you to take leave.
6. Keep It Vague and Simple
The last thing you want to do is get caught up in a tangled web of half-truths with your boss. If you need a day to unwind and destress, be as upfront about it as you can be.
If your employer isn’t likely to accept a little R&R as a good reason to take the day off, keep it vague.
Simply say you have personal matters to attend to. Everyone is entitled to a little privacy, even if you play hooky from work.
Making up stories almost always ends badly for employees. Don’t do it.
7. Know What You’re Entitled To
Most companies with full-time employees offer sick days, vacation time and personal time, or some combination of the above. When you play hooky from work, it’s important to know what benefits you are entitled to.
If paid personal days are available, take those first. The next best thing is sick time.
It can be problematic to let mental health days cut into the vacation time that you earned to do special. But if it’s necessary for your overall well being, that’s the last resort.
8. Get Up Early
If you’ve secured a much needed day off, it may be wise to get up early to make the most of your day.
Imagine how much stress you can relieve in 8 hours if you spend that time –well– not working.
But if peace and comfort are what you seek, stay in bed all day. We won’t tell anyone, especially your boss.
9. Don’t Abuse the Privilege
So you just took a day to play hooky, what’s next?
If you’re thinking about making this a regular thing. Stop yourself right there. You’ll quickly run out of paid-time-off that way, and your employer will run out of patience.
Be smart about your staycation, and don’t abuse the privilege.
10. Let’s Do Lunch
Let’s say you’re working on a tight deadline that’s causing you a lot of distress, and there’s no foreseeable way to get the day off.
Use the small escapes that you do get throughout the day to do something relaxing or memorable. Take a long lunch and have no regrets.
The work will be there when you get back.
Play Hooky From Work!
Playing hooky from work isn’t just a 21st Century millennial thing, it’s a basic human right.
In fact, your employers should thank you for taking care of your stress levels like a responsible adult.
The U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on Mental Health attributes almost $80 billion in annual losses to American businesses due to untreated mental health issues of employees.
So, treat yourself and don’t regret it. There’s plenty of time to focus on work once you’ve had a day to decompress and relax.
To learn how Frank SMS can assist you with text messaging on your next mental health day click here.