Editor's Note: This story originally appeared on FlexJobs.com.
More and more employees realize that they must focus on a better work-life balance to stay happy and healthy.
For companies, this awareness has highlighted the need to offer their employees more options for time away to retain talent and keep everyone happy and healthy.
But as access to time away expands, many employees still hesitate to take time off, feeling it should be reserved for major health emergencies.
While that is definitely a time you’d want to focus on yourself, we’ve also rounded up 10 less apparent reasons you’d be justified for taking some time away.
Here are 10 legitimate reasons to take time off.
1. Recovering From a Contagious Illness
Not only should you care for your health by getting the needed rest, but when you have a contagious illness, such as a cold or the flu, you should avoid spreading it to your teammates.
While it might seem like you’re going above and beyond when you come to work despite being sick, you’re putting everyone at risk of catching the same illness.
And not only that, but you’re also jeopardizing everyone they come in contact with. Consider the impact if they have an elderly loved one or an immunocompromised child at home.
Play it safe and stay home until you’re not contagious. If you’re feeling up to it, this might be the time to ask your boss about working remotely for a few days.
2. Caring for a Loved One
If you’re a caregiver, it is almost inevitable that you will need to take a day off at some point to care for your loved ones. It might be that they’re the one who is ill, or perhaps your childcare is unavailable.
Are you caring for an older parent? Then you might also need to take time off to take them to doctor’s offices or treatments for various illnesses.
Incidentally, one of the best ways to balance your career and caregiving is by exploring companies that offer resources for childcare or eldercare.
3. Utilizing a Mental Health Day
While the term can get overused, an actual mental health day will help you avoid burnout and overwhelm.
Depending on what is happening in your life, you might find that between work and personal commitments, you’re running at full steam nonstop.
You can take the time to handle whatever is weighing on you or simply spend time decompressing. Sometimes, all you need is a day to center yourself so you can return to work with a fresh attitude and greater productivity.
4. Enduring Severe Weather
Do you live in a location with the potential for natural disasters, such as a blizzard, severely icy roads, or a hurricane? You might need time off to adjust, prepare, or recover after one.
Calling in for severe weather is a valid precaution to keep yourself and your family safe and healthy. When you work remotely, it might be an issue facing you alone if your team is distributed.
So, don’t wait for your boss to suggest you take the time you need. Instead, it would be best if you alerted them to your needs and then take the necessary time.
5. Processing Grief
This is one of life’s most unfortunate times and is truly a reason to miss work. Nobody should have to work when grieving …unless you need to escape reality for a bit.
You should also permit yourself to feel grief even if the loss wasn’t an immediate family member.
The loss of a well-loved pet or reeling from a tragedy on the news that impacted you significantly are valid reasons to take a day off to process your emotions.
6. Handling a Household Emergency
Did you wake up with a flooded basement, a hole in your roof, or busted bathroom pipes? It’s not necessarily why you want to take time off, but it is necessary.
Household emergencies must be handled urgently to keep yourself safe and protect your substantial investment in your home.
If possible, do your best to handle the most urgent issues and then head to work. Whenever possible, try scheduling any longer-term repair tasks at a time that doesn’t conflict with work.
7. Attending to Unexpected Health Care Needs
Did you wake up with unexplained pain in your side? Perhaps you broke a crown and need to get to the dentist ASAP.
Whether it’s for you or someone you care for, there might be times when you need to make an abrupt visit to your health care provider.
While you most likely schedule your routine care with preplanned time off, don’t feel guilty about taking time to handle unexpected health concerns.
8. Participating in a Job Interview
If you’re going through a job search, there might come a time when you need to take time off to participate in a job interview. This is especially true if you work a traditional 9-to-5 job, as most of your interview options may be during the same hours.
You’ll need to approach this cautiously when you have multiple interviews.
If you’re consistently taking time off and it’s found out that you’re taking time for job interviews, your current employer may let you go before you’re ready. Instead, consider taking off a few days, or even a vacation week, if you have a round of interviews coming up.
9. Assisting a Sick Pet
Suppose you have a pet that suffered a major accident or is recovering from surgery. In that case, you might discover that they need more care than you can traditionally give around your work schedule.
It’s perfectly acceptable to take time off to care for pets, rather than leave them at home to suffer. Since they might not need consistent care for the entire day, this is a great time to suggest working remotely.
Depending on your company, this might be a less accepted reason to take time off. Use your best judgment in how open you are about your reasons for needing a day or two.
10. Getting Your Car Repaired
No one plans to have an alternator go out. Or, it might be something as simple as a flat tire or dead battery.
But depending on where you are, when it happens, and how long it takes to get support for you and your car, you might need an entire day or more to deal with the inconvenience of not having a working vehicle.
Pursuing a Better Work-Life Balance
We often think of the big picture when we think of work-life balance, such as balancing daily caregiving duties. But the reality is that work-life balance manifests in less apparent ways throughout your life.
Although these are all legitimate reasons to take time off, remote workers and those with flexible schedules can handle many of these issues without much interference with work.
With an understanding employer and a little flexibility in your plan, you can create an environment that promotes and supports your health while leaving your PTO for more fun days away.
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