Making the case for playing hooky

We all have those days — usually the warm, sunny ones — that are just too good to spend indoors at the desk or in front of the computer.

Turns out, there may be some justification to the desire to bolt. Backed by some facts from scientists and the blessing of wellness professionals, we’re making the case for why you should call in sick from work as soon as possible, at least once.

Cutting out early to experience nature is a good idea. Photo: Shutterstock

Cutting out early to experience nature is a good idea. Photo: Courtesy of Rob van Esch/Shutterstock

“Seize the day and make the bad choice. Call in with a little cough and a grand plan. Don’t overthink it. Just … go,” wrote Lulu Miller, a freelance contributor to NPR’s “Radio Lab,” in her story “The Benefits of Playing Hooky.”

According to Miller, research psychologists have found that taking a break from work, especially when stumped by a particular problem, activates a small part of the right brain responsible for those sparks of creativity we know as “aha” moments.

In addition to boosting creativity, taking that pause from work — a real respite, which means no stress from not working — also elevates a sense of tranquility by creating alpha waves, according to a 2011 report from MIT.

When we feel as though we’re floating on air or can’t help smiling, chances are, alpha waves are flooding our brains. Those waves also suppress distractions and help develop a clearer, calmer mind all around.

hooky

Holly Reppert finishes her day relaxing in a hammock and watching the sun set. Photo: Charli Kerns

Speaking of distractions, playing hooky like a pro also means stepping away from the computer, social networks — all that jazz. Writer and yoga instructor Jennifer Pastiloff writes on MindBodyGreen.com, “Pretend you are back at school and pulling a Ferris Bueller.”

Getting the most out of playing hooky comes from approaching the idea with intention, according to Pastiloff. First, have your ducks in a row. Unlike school, where playing hooky meant that only you had to deal with the consequences, playing hooky from work means other people will also feel the effect.

After everyone is taken care of, focus on you. Figure out what makes you happy and do it. If that’s bingeing on TV all day, then go for it. We recommend taking a hike or going for a bike ride, hitting the slopes or getting that surf session in.

No looking back. Photo: Courtesy of David Marcu/Unsplash

No looking back. Photo: Courtesy of David Marcu/Unsplash

Multiple studies have been published over the years connecting exercise to better mental as well as physical health, including this basic overview from the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.

Ultimately, make the most out of the day. You only live once. Play a couple more days of hooky before it’s all over.

More excuses to play hooky from GrindTV

5 perfect excuses to skip work and head outdoors

GrindTV’s guide to playing hooky: 36 hours in Tahoe