Hurting Yourself to Get Out of Work or School

July 22, 2021 Kim Berkley

Hurting yourself to get out of work or school can seem like a tempting option—maybe even your only option—when you're overwhelmed and feeling trapped. But self-harm is, ultimately, a solution that causes more problems than it solves.

Hurting Yourself to Get Out of Work Doesn't Work

When I was younger, I spent a lot of time sick in bed with real migraines. But I am guilty, too, of faking an attack or two in order to stay home—migraines run in my family, and it felt so much easier to admit to a physical ailment than an emotional one. And on those occasions when my acting didn't feel up to snuff, yes, I did things to myself to mimic illness rather than face the outside world.

But ultimately, I always had to get out of bed eventually. Hurting myself to get out of school didn't work. It didn't last, and it did nothing to ease the emotions that made me want to stay home in the first place. It was a too-small Band-Aid for too big a problem, one that was getting bigger by the day.

That's the hardest thing about hurting yourself to get out of work or school. You either have to give it up for what it is—futile—or it becomes a vicious cycle. All too often, self-harm can spiral out of control.

Alternatives to Hurting Yourself to Get Out of Work or School

Despite how you may feel, hurting yourself to get out of school or work is not your only option. I'm a big believer in mental health days—and regardless of whether your ailment is physical, mental, or both, you deserve a break. A day of rest may not solve all your problems, but it can give you the strength you need to face them.

If taking a break right away is not an option, however, there are still other ways to get through the day without turning to self-harm.

Above all, I strongly recommend seeking out some support. A therapist can help you work down to the root of your feelings and establish healthier ways to address them. If you're not able or ready to engage in therapy right now, support groups, hotlines, or even simply a trusted friend or family member can help you maintain perspective and make better choices on those days when it's hard just to get out of bed.

And even though you may not be able to take a break immediately, take one as soon as you can. Do something kind for yourself, even if you don't feel like you deserve it. Make space for yourself to breathe, to rest, and most importantly, to recover.

Do you have any more alternatives to hurting yourself to get out of work or school? Please share your ideas in the comments below—I think we could all use a bit of extra inspiration now and again.

APA Reference
Kim Berkley (2021, July 22). Hurting Yourself to Get Out of Work or School, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 13 from

Author: Kim Berkley

Find Kim on Instagram, Facebook and her blog.

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