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Playing Hooky: 7 Excuses to Use When You Need a Day to Yourself

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As a child, one of the best feelings in the world was when you could successfully convince your parents that you needed to stay home from school.

Just because you’re an adult now doesn’t mean you can’t still play hooky every now and then. 

We all need a day to ourselves to regroup, reset and enjoy life while we still can. 

7 Excuses to Use When You Need a Day to Yourself

Making the decision to skip out on work for the day can be a bit nerve wracking. However, with the right excuse and the best way to communicate it, it can be a pain free process for both you and your boss. 

Excuse #1: Not Feeling Well

Example: “I can’t come into work today. I woke up with a fever and feel dizzy and weak.”

Be Aware: Your boss might ask for a doctors note. You can tell them that your doctor didn’t have any appointments available, but they might not let that slide. Also, try not to use the excuse of food poisoning. It’s overused and hard to believe. 

Excuse #2: No Childcare

Example: “I’m so sorry. My child’s babysitter, nanny, or daycare is unable to watch her today. I will not be able to come into work.”

Be Aware: With this excuse your boss might ask you to work from home instead. You can replay with, “I will not be able to focus and effectively perform my job while also taking care of child.”

Excuse #3: Sick Child

Example: “Hello ____, my child got sick last night and has not gotten better. I will need to stay home to take care of him/her. “

Be Aware: Your boss might ask you to find a family member or friend to stay with your child. Be ready with an excuse as to why you can’t do that. 

Excuse #4: Family Emergency

Example: “Hello _____. I was alerted this morning to a family emergency that will require my attention. I’m sorry but I will not be able to come into work today.

Be Aware: Your boss might ask you what the emergency is. They do not have the right to know that. You can say, “I’m sorry. It’s of a sensitive nature and I don’t feel comfortable sharing that.”

Excuse #5: Sick Pet

Example: “I’m so sorry but my (type of pet) ate something last night and has been sick ever since. I need to take the day off so that I can get him or her to the vet.”

Be Aware: Not everyone is an animal lover. You boss might insist you take your pet to the vet after work. If that is the case you can say, “My vet is only able to see him or her at (list a time) and I feel uncomfortable leaving him or her unattended before or after the appointment.  

Excuse #6: Car Issues

Example: “Something is wrong with my car. I need to call out of work for the day so that I can take it to get fixed.”

Be Aware: Your boss might ask you to be more specific. You can state that your car wont start, that there is a grinding noise coming from the engine, or that you have a flat tire or two. 

Excuse #7: Mental Health Day

Example: “I need to take a mental health day today.” Or if you are conveying this message the night before you can say, “I am taking a mental health day tomorrow.”

Be Aware: Most companies and businesses understand the need for mental health days. Some even write them into their time off policy. If your boss pushes back on your request you can state that you are feeling burned out and stressed and want to take today to find a counselor or therapist. 

Check out these additional examples of work excuse email scripts from The Balance Careers.

5 Things to Keep in Mind

  1. Communicate your need to miss work either the night before or as early in the morning as possible. The more time you give your boss to adjust, the less upset they will be. 
  2. Keep it simple. Don’t go into detail about why you are taking the day off. Pick an excuse and communicate it effectively with as little back story and information as possible. 
  3. Stay away from excuses that are life altering or memorable (like a death in the family) because then your boss will want to follow up with you after you return to work to see how you are feeling. This will cause you to have to lie more which will complicate things. 
  4. Choose the right time. Try not to call out of work on day you know will be extremely busy, or there is a deadline that is due that day or soon. Wait and play hooky on day when things are relatively quiet or right after a major deadline has been met. 
  5. No matter what excuse you use, stay off social media. You do not want a fellow employee or your boss to see what you’re up to.  


Check out our best sellers to help you make your day off as pleasurable as possible!

For some further ways to relax read “Netflix and Chill: Mastering the Chill” and “How Stress Affects Your Sex Life and What to Do About It”.

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