Movie B-School: Ferris Bueller’s Mental Health Day Off

3 minute read


Ferris Bueller’s iconic scene takes place atop a parade float, lipsyncing to The Beatles, surrounded by dancing bar maids, twisting and shouting in his leopard-print vest. This scene encapsulates every feeling of playing hooky – excitement, threat of being caught, and doing something out of the norm.

Movie B-School: Ferris Bueller's Mental Health Day Off I North by Northwest Boise

We’re not condoning licking your palms or composing a symphony of sick sounds for your boss, so planning to take a vacation day meant solely to be an MHD is a safer bet. How to know if it’s time to start planning on yours?

Inc. and Huffington Post both point to bouts of insomnia, irritability, and a lack of engagement and/or caring about your work or grooming as signals. The first time we see Cameron Frye, he’s in bed, surrounded by medicinal confetti, and unable to pull himself out from under the covers to take a phone call from Ferris. His voice is morose, and he insists he can’t leave his home.

Movie B-School: Ferris Bueller's Mental Health Day Off I North by Northwest Boise

So, you realize you’re feeling a little down and out like Cam, and decide to take a day. What is the best way to spend it? As Ferris says, “The question isn’t ‘What are we going to do,’ the question is ‘What aren’t we going to do.”

Movie B-School: Ferris Bueller's Mental Health Day Off I North by Northwest Boise

These days feel like freebies, and cause us to relish time away from responsibility, rather than catch up on laundry. “A mental health day should be designed to give your mind, body, and spirit just what it’s craving most—which is different for every person,” says career coach Kathy Caprino in Shape Magazine. Bueller had this in the bag – he spends the day livening up Cameron’s life with enrichment through art, song, dance, and food. Forbes suggests activities like going for a hike, meditating, and getting a massage, all the while NOT feeling guilty for being absent from work. Me? I would read in the park, go to the zoo, and catch a movie. How would you spend your day?

Movie B-School: Ferris Bueller's Mental Health Day Off I North by Northwest Boise

How to hold onto that feeling?

If you come back to work feeling like you need another MHD, it might be time to start working through what’s causing you to feel that way. AboutHealth recommends compiling a list of tasks that drain you during the workday, and begin eliminating them gradually.

Shape continues, “The challenges that seemed too beleaguering yesterday should feel easier to deal with, Caprino adds. If you don’t feel any change despite putting your free day to good use, it’s probably a sign of a bigger problem…A therapist or career/life coach can help you reexamine your career and life to see if there is a deeper issue at play here. But don’t ignore the feeling.”

Finally, don’t pretend like you weren’t expecting to see this gem in an article about Ferris Bueller’s Day Off:

Movie B-School: Ferris Bueller's Mental Health Day Off I North by Northwest Boise

Links to more articles regarding Mental Health Days:

“4 Reasons You’re Not Taking a Mental Health Day When You Should” Business Insider

“No More Excuses: Take A Day Off” CNN

“You Deserve It: 12 Ideas For Taking a Mental Health Day” PopSugar


(Images viavia, via, via, via, via)


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About the Author

Stephanie Norell is the Marketing Director for North by Northwest’s Boise office. She loves horror movies and Pinterest, adores the classic film Xanadu, and “enjoys” disseminating her thoughts for trolls to discuss online.


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