Calling-In Sick, What’s Your Excuse?

As the holiday season draws near, with it comes the chill of winter and that ever-so-pesky flu season.

According to a survey released by CareerBuilder last week, companies report employees tend to call-in sick most frequently during the holiday season. In slight contrast, employees report calling-in sick most often during the first quarter of the year (January through March), just as the holidays are winding down.

On the flip side, another CareerBuilder survey released earlier this year found that 72% of employees end up going to work sick, with more than half reporting feeling guilty about having to call-in sick. Guilt aside, 69% of bosses still required a doctor’s note to prove the legitimacy of absences.

Some of the more unique excuses reported in the CareerBuilder survey included:

-Got a cold from my puppy

-Drank anti-freeze by mistake

-Child got a mint stuck up his nose and had to go to the ER

Americans are working harder than ever and with less resources. Add in the stress of the holidays along with the cold winter weather, and it’s no wonder we tend to feel down during this time of year. If you find yourself feeling overworked and rundown, it’s important to step aside and take a big-picture look at your priorities. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Know Your Limits: You can’t do everything. Know your capacity and prioritize your activities accordingly. All too often we create unnecessary work for ourselves by taking on more than we need to, particularly during the holiday season. Understand what has to get done versus what would be nice to get done. Remember, it’s OK to say no. When you stretch yourself too thin you become less effective at everything.

Pay Attention to Your Body: Exhaustion is tough. When your body tells you it’s had enough, pay attention. When you start feeling those annoying cold or flu symptoms creep up be sure to slow down, pull back, and take a nap if need be. We all need rest in order to recharge ourselves. Take care of yourself. You aren’t any use to anyone sick, so do what it takes to stay healthy.

Strike a Balance. Both mental health and physical health are critical to keeping your mind sharp. You have to feel good physically if you want to feel good mentally. The holiday season is supposed to be a festive time, take the time to enjoy the season and be sure to spend time with those who matter most to you. Remember, work will always be there!

Michael “Dr. Woody” Woodward, PhD is a CEC certified executive coach trained in organizational psychology. Dr. Woody is author of The YOU Plan: A 5-step Guide to Taking Charge of Your Career in the New Economy and is the founder of Human Capital Integrated (HCI), a firm focused on management and leadership development. Dr. Woody also sits on the advisory board of the Florida International University Center for Leadership.Follow Dr. Woody on Twitter and Facebook