10 really unusual sick day excuses

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Why would you need 10 really unusual sick day excuses? Sometimes the actual truth is hard to believe. While some companies award mental health days or self-care days, most bosses expect you to be there and operating at full capacity, even when you feel like death.

Whether you’re feeling physically ill or you’re just not feeling it, whether you’re burnt out or overburdened, you probably just need some time out.

Self-care means putting yourself first.

However, there are three main types of people who rarely need self-care and really need these 10 really unusual sick day excuses:

  1. The always-on

If you’re a freelancer, remote worker, or entrepreneur, you probably never take time off. You can’t. Time not worked is money lost. And because you’re not a paid employee, nobody cares if you’re sick. They just want the work to get done. So never mind if you haven’t slept in days, are juggling three jobs, and travelling cross country, if you’re feeling worn out, that’s your problem. So, how do you get the rest you so desperately need?

  1. The imposter

No matter what you do, you feel like you’re constantly trying to prove yourself. You constantly doubt yourself and wonder if you’re any good at your job. No amount of praise or results is ever enough because you’re sure that you’re doing an average job at best. This means that you’ll always try to over-deliver, work harder and be better than your best. Most of the time, you feel like you’re faking it. Sound draining?

  1. The perfectionist

You tend towards perfectionism and fear making mistakes. You don’t like to ask for help because you think others will think that you don’t quite know what you’re doing. You’re always trying to make sure everything is perfect, taking on an ever-increasingly workload and responsibilities while others slack off, no matter how much of a toll it takes on your health.

How to know if you need a day off

There are many other types of employees who might need sick days, but this article will speak to you if you’re the kind of person who rarely takes time off and is always working.

You need a day off, maybe more than one, if you regularly feel:

  • Overwhelmed
  • Drained, and
  • Often despondent (from any of the above)

But you’re certainly not the type to go to the doctor and get a sick note, and it would probably be useless to you anyway because you probably work for yourself.

So, how do you justify a self-care day?

This article aims to give you 10 unusual sick day excuses that will give you an out – and let you have a guilt-free day off.

Blue-footed Booby Success Formula: 10 really unusual sick day excuses

  1. I had a seriously bad dream and need a day to recover. This sounds funny, but it’s pretty serious. A bad night’s sleep can make you sick. However, we don’t advise phrasing it like this! Perhaps explain that as a result, you’re feeling exhausted and mentally drained, which has impaired your ability to be present and productive.
  2. I got on the wrong plane. This can actually happen. But, it might make you lose a bit of your colleagues’ respect.
  3. The universe has been telling me to take a day off. This might work if everyone knows you as a spiritual person who usually works damn hard and is respected. If not, well, keep scrolling.
  4. Sorry, I can’t leave the house/have no electricity/internet. This sounds unusual, but can actually be true, especially in a country like South Arica where there’s load shedding and you might get trapped in the house with no power. I’ve been unable to open the garage door to drive out before and been locked in the house when my partner accidentally took my keys along with his own!
  5. I ate ______(insert type of food) and got food poisoning. This is especially easy to believe if you’ve been travelling, or just generally like eating exotic types of food. Don’t get heavy on the detail, just keep it simple and say that you “can’t hold anything down”.
  6. I donated blood and fainted. This is believable if you’re usually exhausted and tired.
  7. I got lost doing ________on ___________(insert believable situation here), for example, hiking on Table Mountain and consequently had to spend the night there. However, if you exaggerate too much on this story, you will lose credibility, because this can be checked. However, true story, this happened to someone I know.
  8. I must move out of my house unexpectedly and arrange to get it fumigated. I discovered __________(insert fleas, lice, rats, or any other horror).
  9. I finally got an appointment with my cardiologist after months, and the only slot is available tomorrow.
  10. I have to get an emergency root canal. This one falls at the bottom of the list for not being that unusual, or that hard to believe. I’ve had to skip work for a particularly long-and-drawn out root canal that left me unable to talk for two days.

Coming up with this list wasn’t easy, because these 10 unusual sick day excuses need to be believable and work for everyone – no matter what your line of work or what your responsibilities are. For example, having a broken-down car isn’t going to apply if you’re a remote worker who works from home!

Secondly, call me superstitious, but using excuses like a family member has died isn’t a wise idea, because it could come true, or be true for someone else whom you’re suddenly discrediting with your story. Besides, we’re looking at unusual sick-day excuses.

If you find some of these amusing and want more, you can read this article for examples of excuses people have actually used. Keep in mind that most people use unusual sick day excuses because they’re scared of telling the truth, scared they won’t be believed, or ashamed or embarrassed.

Instead of just saying, “Hey I need a mental health day,” many of us are scared to take a day off because we either feel like we’re too important (nobody else could possibly do my job) or not important enough (i.e., replaceable).

Several studies have shown that most people who come up with creative sick day excuses are likely to do so if they are suffering from mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and stress. In a study of 1000 non-executive employees, respondents said they would use a made-up excuse because they were:

  • Afraid of being judged (23%)
  • Concerned about not being believed (15 %)
  • Afraid of their boss’s or colleagues’ reaction (7 %).

These are the ailments employees are most likely to lie about:

  1. Anxiety: 41.5 %
  2. Depression: 39. 6 %
  3. Stress: 37.7 %
  4. Common cold: 22 %
  5. Migraine: 12.3 %
  6. Elective surgery: 9.9 %
  7. Flu: 7.2 %
  8. Back pain: 7.2 %
  9. Injury caused by accident: 5.5 %

Our tips for using these 10 really unusual sick day excuses

Be up-front and direct without going into too much detail. If you don’t want to commit to coming in the next day, say you will be in touch regarding the next day. Remember that you’re not letting anyone done by taking a self-care day to recharge and clear your mind. This also means not making yourself available for any “emergencies” or remote work. You need to do a proper work detox and rest.

Final thoughts

If you find yourself regularly wanting to skip work, then maybe this is an issue that you need to address. The odd sickie is normal and can even be healthy for you. But if you’re either wracked with guilt at the thought of taking so many sickies that you’re running out of excuses, you might be in an unhealthy work environment (even if it’s only you at the helm).

Take a sick day by using one or none of these 10 really unusual sick day excuses – a bad case of flu also works – and then think about how to tackle things moving forward. Whether it’s lightening the workload, outsourcing, using AI or working reduced hours – do what you need to do to get the self-care you need and reignite your missing mojo.

If you try any of these, please share your experiences (anonymously if you like) in the comments below or shoot us an email. We’d love to hear about some of your creative and unusual sick-day excuses. As always, don’t forget to join the blue-foot flock. We’re looking for a tribe of quirky followers who want to learn about positive ways to change their lives!






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