Are you one of those work-from-homers who have been slogging away at those extra hours during COVID? According to business support company, NordVPN Teams, the average Brit is now working an extra 2 hours a day. Just think about it; 2 hours a day over 48 weeks (if you are someone inclined to take your holiday) is an extra 64 days work a year, more than 2 months!
No wonder we’re all stressed and at the point of burnout.
At the same time, if you are one of the privileged ones to have been able to work from home, like me, and bury yourself away from the outside world in the worst of times, it’s also unlikely that you remember the last time you took a sick day.
I, personally, save up TV shows to binge-watch when I’m sick, and the list is growing!
Additionally, your home and work life may have blurred into one. I’m fortunate to have a workspace, but I still put the dishwasher on, pop to the shops and give the bathroom sink a clean once during the day, which can make it hard to switch off when there is time to relax.
And even if you don’t have kids, weekends are spent doing laundry, fixing things around the house, meal prepping, days out or catching up with friends. When was the last time you sat down and did nothing? There’s just no time to chill!
So maybe we should be taking a leaf out of Bumble CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd’s book, who gave her whole company a week off work to combat stress this June. Her staff was told to switch off and focus on themselves due to a collective burnout Wolfe Herd thinks is imminent.
Maybe a week is pushing your luck slightly, when you ask your employer you want time off work to reset and recharge, but what about a duvet day? Just the chance for you to have an unscheduled day off to NOT DO ANYTHING.
Here are 4 reasons why you should take a duvet day
1. You’re exhausted
Sleep has been proven to improve your immunity, so a day in bed means you’re less likely to get sick in the long run and take that week off work just when your company needs you the most. You’ll improve your attention span, your memory and your brainpower.
Furthermore, getting that all-important shut-eye can improve your productivity, and can actually save your company money. In one study of 4188 people across 4 companies in the UK, productivity losses due to lack of sleep were estimated to cost $1967 (£1,419) per employee each year. How’s that for a quick and easy saving!
2. You need some time away from the screen
Zoom fatigue is real, people!
According to Professor Petroglieri of Insead, a video call requires more focus. That’s because we need to work harder to process non-verbal cues like facial expressions, the tone and pitch of the voice, and body language; paying more attention to these consumes a lot of energy.
Just a day away from the screen can help you reset and recharge. And remember not to check your emails on your duvet day! Don’t worry they’ll still be there for you when you get back!
3. You need to reset and relax
When was the last time you weren’t in the endless cycle of going to work (or commuting to the sofa), coming home, making dinner and going to the gym? With the weather being so bad this summer, and the prospect of a holiday abroad, or even a holiday in the UK a distant dream, many of us have not been able to get away and gain the space we need.
There are so many reasons why taking a holiday is good for us, as you put day-to-day life to one side and think about and experience alternative things. Perhaps you’ll also be able to experience nature and the outdoors, rather than be wrapped up in a tiny flat.
And the science says so: the Framingham Heart Study, which followed 750 women with no previous heart disease over 20 years found that those who took the fewest holidays were twice as likely to get a heart attack as those who took the most.
Furthermore, a 2006 Ernst & Young study found that for each additional ten hours of holiday employees took, their performance reviews were 8% higher the following year.
But, unfortunately, this year, many of us are not in the position to take holiday, however, a duvet day is one quick way to break that cycle just a little bit, and will be better than nothing.
4. You need some time for yourself
I recently spent the week at my flat with my partner away in more than a year and it was such an unusual experience. I’d almost forgotten how to live by myself, especially as we’d both been home every single day, had eaten every single meal together and discussed our days together as they unfolded.
Apart from the lack of company, I had a long list of things to get through that were easier to get done without him, and I could finally sit in front of the TV!
After the shock of it all, it was a delight to enjoy my own company, choose the food I’d like to eat, go places I wanted to go and linger in them for too long, and just get some thinking time to myself.
So how about a duvet day?
If you are unsure about having a duvet day, remember that it’s a vital element of self-care and you are not being lazy.
- How useful would I be in the office if I went in today? If the answer is pretty unproductive, then it’s time to take a duvet day.
- Do I have any tasks that must get done today? If no, then it’s time to take a duvet day.
- Do I have any meetings that can’t be rescheduled? If no, then it’s time to take a duvet day.
- What would happen if I did take the day off? If the office would cope without you, and may not even notice your absence(!!), then it’s time to take a duvet day.
How to make the most of a duvet day
Do something productive
Your productivity doesn’t have to be in the same league as a regular day, but make sure you have plans, whether that’s the ultimate lie-in or a box set marathon.
Switch off your phone
Getting Whatsapp messages and TikTok pings throughout the day, and Googling anything that comes into your head is not conducive to unwinding and relaxing. If you do want to call a friend, then by all means do, but make sure that you are in charge of your diary so you only speak to them if you really want to.
Leave the house
Fresh air and exercise are still important.
Get the food in
You might well want to snack on some chocolate or popcorn with the Indiana Jones series, but just remember to drink enough water and get some fruit and veg in you during the day.