Should I take a duvet day or power through?

By June 26, 2019July 4th, 2019Self Care

Fellow Simplifiers, there is something you should know about me. I am the QUEEN of duvet days. I LOVE them and I have my method set.

Not familiar with the term “duvet day?”

Here’s a quick definition.

Duvet day = it’s basically taking a day off from work and your responsibilities with the aim of spending as much time as possible in bed or on the couch. You take one when you’re low on energy, your mental health could do with some support, or you’re just not feeling it that day.

For any non-Brits still feeling a little confused… I believe a “duvet” is kinda like a comforter. It’s basically a type of bedding and something you wrap yourself up in, like a burrito.

In my mind, they’re different to sick days or personal days because they’re specifically all about being comfortable, cozy and only moving if you feel like it. Some companies even have them written into employee contracts! I’ll even share with you how I set up my own version of duvet days while working for The Simplifiers…

You might think it’s just being lazy or a waste of time but I think the occasional duvet day is ESSENTIAL. They can play a big part in looking after mental and physical health, not to mention, it’ll help you reduce stress, increase productivity, motivation and bring benefits to your business whether you’re a one person team, an employer or an employee.


Here’s how to know when to take a duvet day and when to power through.

Should I take a duvet day or power through?

How to be a responsible adult and take a duvet day.

Let’s get the basics out of the way – we all have some responsibilities that we can’t just switch off from. It might be getting the kids to school, meetings scheduled, work deadlines you must hit… I’m not saying just run away from those and let everything fall apart! That’s definitely NOT going to help your stress levels!

However, you can take the kids to school or arrange childcare… and THEN kickstart your duvet day. Set an out of office automatic email response and check your calendar before committing to a day off. Remember, there’s a method to this!

The key is to remove the guilt. A duvet day is a vital element of self-care – it’s NOT about being lazy.

Let’s be realistic. There must be the occasional day when you can take time off without everything falling apart. Even if it’s just for a few hours while the kids are in school.

Should I take a duvet day or power through? - how to decideHere’s a quick list of questions to help you when you’re questioning – “Should I take a duvet day today?”

  • Do you have tasks that are both urgent and important that are deadline driven and MUST get done today? Or can they wait?
  • Considering you’re mental health and wellness – would you output your best work today, given the circumstances?
  • Do you have meetings or calls that cannot be re-scheduled?
  • Realistically, what’s the worst that could happen if you took today off?

Should I take a duvet day or power through? - how the Queen of duvet days decidesHow this ‘Queen of duvet days’ decides.

Yeah, I’ve given myself that title and I intend to use it. I refuse to feel bad for factoring duvet days into my life!

For me, it’s all about my mental health. If I find that my depression or anxiety is overwhelming – I take a duvet day. I check my calendar and to-do list, have a bit of a debate in my head about it, make the decision, commit, and then feel much better after!

Should I take a duvet day or power through? - here's the planHow I made it work as an employee

I’m a part of The Simplifiers’ team but I’m also self-employed and work from home a lot, which makes it easier for me to take a duvet day. But when I was contracted as an employee, I would simply speak up and have a conversation with our CEO Mary which led to a few unofficial duvet days.

I didn’t want to lie about having a physical illness on days when actually I just needed a break for my mental health. It just adds stress and weakens the working relationship. So I suggested that on days when I needed a duvet day, I would simply contact Mary and say I needed a mental health day. No questions were asked other than any information the team needed from me to continue working that day.

benefits of taking a duvet dayThe benefits included:

  • A better working relationship because it encourages honesty
  • If I felt better later that day, I could work from home or come into the office in the afternoon. Taking a sick day would mean the business lost me for an entire day.
  • I was less stressed because I was being honest, knew the team understood and encouraged self-care. So I could actually relax and recover!
  • I came back to work feeling rejuvenated, less likely to burn out and cause bigger problems by leaving, AND it helps me feel positive about the company I work for.

All those things add up to increased productivity, deeper motivation, and all kinds of wins for the company overall!

Should I take a duvet day or power through?My personal duvet day plan.

  • Sleep in and snooze for as long as I want. I might listen to an audio book in bed
  • Move from my bed to my sofa with a blanket and lots of cushions
  • Find something quick and easy to eat or order in food
  • Choose a Netflix box set or a few movies to watch and begin my TV marathon
  • Ensure snacks are nearby at all times
  • If I feel claustrophobic or like I need to move, I’ll go for a walk and listen to music
  • Do some light prep to make my life easier the next day like choosing an outfit, getting my bag packed, etc
  • Go to bed feeling guilt free and positive about hitting the restart button in the morning

Should I take a duvet day or power through? - watch for warning signsWarning signs to look out for.

Everyone needs the occasional duvet day but if you find yourself taking too many, it might be a sign of deeper problems. For me it’s been a recurring sign in my life that my mental health needs a bit more support.

If you’re finding yourself spending unusual amounts of time in bed, avoiding important and urgent work, repeatedly cancelling meetings or avoiding doing things that previously made you happy to stay home, please speak to a doctor or mental health specialist. Ask friends and family for support. Take the pressure off yourself.

Take a look at the resources we recommend below if you feel like you need some added support.

Resources we recommend:

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