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How ‘Sick’​ Days Cause You Stress. And Mental Health Days Demonstrate Integrity.

Achieving optimal mental and physical health in the workplace. And how to communicate your needs with confidence and authority.

Honesty, integrity and health are all within my top values. It goes something like this;

#1 – Vitality (health & energy)

#2 – Love & Connection

#3 – Honesty & Integrity 

I suggest many of you will resonate with at least some similar values to these.

Living out of alignment with our values creates internal conflict, which results in less-than-desirable external outcomes. What manifests internally is anxiety, stress, overwhelm, frustration, irritability and burnout. Externally you are noticing a lack of results, strained relationships, lowered performance, and things seeming to go wrong around you.

So what happens when your health is compromised, and you feel you need to lie to protect it?  

Well, TROUBLE. That’s what it means.  

Or more accurately – anxiety, overwhelm, stress, burnout, depression.

Even worse is if you feel the need to compromise value #3(honesty), with a person you feel an authentic connection with (value#2) to support #1(your health). 

That’s my friends, is a recipe for DISASTER!

The problem is, this is not only a highly frequent event, but it’s also the most socially accepted method to ‘take a sickie’. 

Lying that you ate dodgy leftovers, or that you’re coming down with the flu, feels more accessible than telling the truth. The truth is that you need a day off to regain your energy, focus, happiness and feel ‘alive’ again

Somehow it became normal to lie about feeling sick, and make silly excuses for taking care of ourselves, which is NUTS!

What you need is to rest and recharge! While you will regain some energy even if you lie about it, but you also will have done emotional damage. Lying, even if ‘small’, is creating inside you a lack of self-trust, low-level anxiety and your self-esteem to plummet. 

Before I dive into helping you with a scipt, here are a few truths to remember;

  1. The business will be just fine without you.
  2. If they’re not, there’s a business problem, not a ‘you’ problem. 
  3. In the context of your work, you’re not that important, in the context of your body and health you are EVERYTHING. 

Your healthy body is the systems/processes department; 

Your healthy mind is product/service; 

Your self-confidence the sales department; 

Your positive spirit is the culture; 

And your ability to generate energy is your ability to deliver profits. 

To quote Steven R.Covey from the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People 

“To maintain the P/PC Balance, the balance between the golden egg (production) and the health and welfare of the goose (production capability) is often a difficult judgment call. But I suggest it is the very essence of effectiveness.”

To assist in making this judgement call, and for you to reap the full health rewards of a day away from work, I have written a generalised example for you.

I have included a few language alternatives as I encourage you to say what feels authentic for you. You are fully allowed to add or remove as much personal information you would like to share. 

*Please note: This advice is not an invitation for you to ‘take the piss’ (Translation from Australian slang – to make unreasonable requests or take advantage of)


“Hey’ Boss’,

I’m experiencing a feeling of {drain/disruption/unease/anxiety/stress} on my mental {energy/health} recently. I am noticing it affect my overall performance both at work and personally.

For the sake of my mental and physical health (i.e. I don’t want to end up sick), I feel it’s best I take the day off to recharge. 

My calendar for today was: 

{X} – I have Rescheduled

{Y} – Not high priority

{Z} – Have forward to Bob to support

If there is anything urgent, or an issue I may not have thought of, I’m happy to discuss an alternative day off that works better for the team. 

I appreciate you have been working on big projects recently, so please let me know if I can support you. Perhaps you could do with a day for yourself soon?

Thank you for your support.”


If this feels uncomfortable for you, that’s not because it’s ‘wrong’ for you, it’s because you haven’t done it before. 

The real key here is to say what’s right for you.

If you struggle with this concept, or cannot get past the discomfort of expressing yourself in this way, then there’s work for you to do on self-worth, boundaries and personal power. Partnering with a Coach would be a positive next step for you.

I urge you, be a leader, step up and demonstrate to your team, leaders, and colleagues what radical authenticity, self-awareness and responsibility look like.

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