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iVillage.com: Indulging in Guilty Pleasures

Playing Hooky

Why it’s OK: Feel like you need a mental health day? You’re not alone. According to a 2004 poll by the American Psychological Association, two-thirds of men and women say work has a significant impact on their stress level. Time away from work helps reduce stress, restores efficiency and even boosts creativity. As a result, one in four of us has taken a “mental health day.”

When to indulge: Provided you don’t get caught, an unscheduled day off now and then isn’t going to kill your career. However, constantly pushing yourself to the point of exhaustion could, says executive coach M.J. Ryan, author of "AdaptAbility." “If you always have this feeling of misery or dread, it tells you something’s not working. Vow to do things differently in your daily life,” says Ryan. Instead of calling in sick, schedule regular days of downtime to avert mental meltdown. Plan activities you really enjoy to help you take your mind off your job. And do not check email while on vacation!

Don’t overdo it: Playing hooky is a legitimate reason to fire an employee. Plus, calling in sick won’t necessarily give you the respite you need to recuperate. The fear of getting caught can make people sit at home and worry about work. Plus, research in the Journal of Applied Psychology shows fretting is the number-one way to ruin the mental health benefits of a vacation.

(Credit: Mike Harrington/The Image Bank/Getty Images)
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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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