Playing Hooky (The case for a mental health day)


I played hooky today. I’m not sick. My kids are fine. I had no doctor’s appointment. I didn’t have to go to the dentist. I didn’t even have a school event or PTA board meeting to attend.

I simply played hooky. I played hooky and I feel great about that. I decided on November 21st that I would play hooky. Today is December 8th. So my hooky was pre meditated.

We all need an “Ah shit” day

One of my former colleagues, Ligea, used to say we all need an “Ah shit” day. A day where we wake up and say, “Ah shit, I don’t feel like going in.” My friend Kendra would say that everyone needs a “Mental Health Day.” Similar to sick days, mental health days are taken to preserve and nurture our mental health.

This hooky playing was essentially about nurturing my mental health. It’s been such a busy time for me. I just wrapped up several back-to-back keynotes on the road.

I’m a woman. A wife. A mother. A keynote for me is more than just a presentation on the big stage. My husband works nights so when I travel I have to plan for a caretaker (my gracious mother) to stay with my kids overnight and to get them to school daily. I have to prepare meals ahead of time and lay out my son’s clothes. I have to clean my house so that I look like I have it all together when my mother stays overnight.

And then, of course, there’s the keynote.

One of my keynotes was to an audience of 1100. The largest contact center annual conference in the world. I spent 9 months designing and rehearsing that keynote. It took me at least 3 months to select my outfit and shoes for the big day.

Myra Golden Keynote

Shortly before my Keynote address at the ICMI Contact Center Demo & Conference in Las Vegas

That keynote was in Las Vegas. My husband and I just celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary. But I was in South Dakota on business and we didn’t get to celebrate the big 20. So, hubby joined me in Vegas and we had a wonderful 5 days of bliss after my keynote. I loved it. I really did. But my mind was often back home with the kids. Was Warren okay riding with another father to and from football practice? Was Lauren staying on top of her geometry and chemistry homework? Was mom really okay giving up nearly a week of her time to help us out?

Immediately after my Las Vegas keynote I had to gear up for a keynote in Pennsylvania and then right after that, I spoke at a conference for a new client in an industry I am still learning. Insurance. In New York. I wore the same dress I wore in Vegas. I killed it. The keynote in this fairly new industry was truly one of the best I have ever delivered. God was with me. He anointed me and I am still in awe of that favor.


The auditorium an hour or so before attendees arrive for a keynote in Tulsa

But there was little time to relish the greatness of my New York keynote because Fairfield County Ohio was just days away. A board meeting and two local training sessions in between didn’t allow for any downtime. I was exhausted, but this annual meeting of about 130 wonderful people expected me to be at the top of my game.

Travel into Columbus was a hassle. Delays. Long, long day. 45 minute drive to my bed and breakfast.

Yes, a bed and breakfast. I stayed at a lovely historic bed and breakfast, Shaw’s, where I enjoyed a clean vegan meal and extraordinary customer service. I got up the next morning and delivered a pretty fantastic keynote to some of the best people I have ever met in my life! It was awesome. I loved, loved, loved the people I met in Ohio.


Green Room Myra Golden

Taking selfies like a teenager in the Green Room right before my keynote at a public library annual staff development day. 

And when I got on the plane after the keynote, I nearly collapsed. From exhaustion. And that brings me to November 21st.

When I returned to Tulsa, I resumed reading my daybook, Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnauch. I’m reading this book for the third time. The November21st meditation is entitled “Playing Hooky.” Breathnauch encourages women to find a day where it won’t be catastrophic of us to miss work and to call in and play hooky. A mental health day, if you will. And she suggests we spend the day however we want. Going to the movies alone. Having lunch with a girlfriend. Shopping. Reading a novel in one sitting.

Sitting on my couch that day, I picked up my iPhone, pulled up my calendar and found the first day that I could play hooky without the world falling part. That day was December 8th. And I did it.

I took the kids to school, like it was a normal day. Then, I came home, lit a fire, made a latte and started reading a new novel.

Hooky 2.jpg

I heated up leftovers for brunch. At noon I poured a glass of red wine. I had a sugar cookie when I wasn’t even hungry. All day I sat in front of my fireplace reading.

Fire Place Myra Golden

My reading room (Living room) – I literally spent my entire day on my couch in front of my fireplace. 

I didn’t go into my office. I didn’t reply to any emails. I didn’t clean house. I just read. And I read the entire book before it was time to pick the kids up.

It was truly the perfect day. I needed this day. I loved this day.

Drink Think Relax

Take Sara Breathnauch’s advice. Carve out a day just for you. Play hooky. Do whatever you want. Shop. Nap. Go to the movies. Visit a museum. Treat yourself to a spa day. We all need a mental health day or an ah shit day. Treat yourself and comeback refreshed my friends. You deserve it!