It’s important to understand that there is a slight difference in the meaning of a Duvet Day between the UK and the US.
What is a Duvet Day?
A Duvet Day is when your employer allows you to take a day off, with a goal to improve your mental health but without needing to use your holiday entitlement.
In the UK, A Duvet Day is a day when someone decides not to go to work but instead stay in bed, wrapped up in their duvet or blanket, and spend the day relaxing, resting, and doing activities from the comfort of their bed or sofa. It is a day when someone takes a break from their usual routine and responsibilities, and allows themselves some time to recharge and recuperate.
However in the US, although it does involve the same activities mentioned above, it appears to be more formal and accepted by employers as a perk or benefit. Many agree that this helps with the mental health of their staff.
What are the benefits of a Duvet Day?
Taking a Duvet Day can have several benefits for one's mental and physical health, including:
- Reducing stress: Taking a day off from work or other responsibilities can help reduce stress levels and provide an opportunity to relax and unwind.
- Improving sleep: Spending a day in bed can help improve the quality of sleep and help one feel more rested and refreshed.
- Boosting productivity: Sometimes taking a break from the usual routine can boost productivity by providing a mental break and the opportunity to recharge.
- Promoting self-care: Taking a Duvet Day is an act of self-care and can help prioritise one's well-being.
- Enhancing creativity: Taking a break from work and responsibilities can provide a mental space for new ideas and creativity to flourish.
Of course, it's important to note that taking a Duvet Day should be done in moderation and not used as a way to consistently avoid responsibilities or obligations. But when taken in the right context, a duvet day can be a beneficial and refreshing break.
What do you do on a Duvet Day?
A Duvet Day allows employees to take time off without notice or using vacation days. It's an impromptu self-care day, different from a sick day.
On a Duvet Day the goal is to relax and enjoy your day, so you should do something that makes you rest and feel good. Here are some ideas for things to do on a Duvet Day:
- Read a book or watch a movie: Catch up on your favourite books or movies, or discover new ones that you've been wanting to read or watch.
- Listen to music or podcasts: Use your day in bed as an opportunity to discover new music or catch up on your favourite podcasts.
- Practice self-care: Take a long, relaxing bath or shower, do some yoga or meditation, or give yourself a spa treatment.
- Spend time with loved ones: If you live with someone, spend some quality time with them, whether it's having breakfast in bed, watching a movie together, or just enjoying each other's company.
- Journal or reflect: Use your duvet day as a chance to reflect on your thoughts and feelings, write in a journal, or practice gratitude.
- Do some creative projects: Work on a craft project, paint or draw, or start a new hobby.
- Catch up on sleep: Take naps or sleep in late, and allow yourself the time to truly rest and recharge.
- Goblin mode: Go full Goblin mode! A popular behaviour since covid lockdown - “unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly, or greedy, typically in a way that rejects social norms or expectations” as voted for in the Oxford dictionary here.
When should I take a Duvet Day?
When you're feeling stressed, burned out, or just need a mental health day. It can help recharge your batteries.
Other important times include:
- After a particularly busy or hectic time at work. Use it to recover.
- When you have a lot of tasks piling up at home, like errands or housework. A Duvet Day gives you time to catch up.
- Around holidays like Thanksgiving or Christmas to extend your time off.
- On a rainy, cold, or snowy day when you don't want to leave your cosy bed.
- When you just need some alone time or "me time." A Duvet Day allows you to tune out distractions.
- On your birthday or another personal milestone. Celebrate with relaxation.
The key is to use Duvet Days strategically, when you'll get the most benefit from time off. Try to avoid excessive Duvet Days that could be seen as taking advantage of the policy. Communicate with your manager to make sure it fits within your workplace guidelines.
Remember, the goal of a Duvet Day is to take a break and relax, so choose activities that feel restful and enjoyable to you.
Here are some things you might need for a perfect Duvet Day:
- A comfortable duvet or blanket: The star of the show! Make sure your duvet or blanket is soft and cosy.
- Comfy clothes: Wear your favourite pyjamas or loungewear for maximum comfort.
- Pillows: Surround yourself with pillows and cushions to make your bed even more inviting.
- Snacks and drinks: Stock up on your favourite snacks and drinks, whether it's tea, coffee, hot chocolate, or your favourite indulgent treat.
- Entertainment: Gather your favourite books, movies, or shows to watch, as well as any devices or headphones you need.
- Cosy lighting: Use soft lighting or candles to create a relaxing atmosphere.
- A notebook and pen: If you want to spend some time reflecting or journaling, make sure you have a notebook and pen handy.
- Self-care items: If you want to pamper yourself, have some face masks, lotions, or other self-care items on hand.
Remember, the perfect Duvet Day is all about relaxation and comfort, so tailor your setup to your personal preferences and make sure you have everything you need to make it a truly relaxing experience.
Where did the Duvet Day come from?
The concept originated in the UK, and has become popular in other countries over time. Here's a brief history on where it came from:
- Duvets or down comforters became more common in UK households in the 1970s-80s. Taking a day off to stay in bed or lounge around the house with your comfortable duvet may have inspired the term.
- The exact origins are unclear, but the concept of a "duvet day" started gaining popularity in the UK in the late 1980s and 1990s. It became a cultural reference for calling in sick or taking a personal day to relax at home.
- The term was helped by a 1999 TV ad campaign by Dreams Beds in the UK that explicitly promoted the idea of taking a relaxing "duvet day" on one of their beds.
- In the early 2000s, some progressive UK companies began introducing formal policies as a employee benefit. This allowed workers a certain number of informal days off without using annual leave days.
- From the UK, the "duvet day" concept spread to Australia, Canada, the US and other countries over the 2000s as a more appealing term for a mental health or personal day off work.