It’s never easy to tell your boss you’re sick. So, you’ll need to find an appropriate phrase to do so professionally.
“I am not feeling well” is okay, but it’s not the most effective choice.
Luckily, we’re here to help. This article will explain how to say “I am not feeling well” professionally.
- I feel under the weather
- I’m not feeling my best
- I’m afraid I do not feel well
- I do not feel great today
- I would appreciate the day off to recover
- This illness is getting the better of me
- I might be coming down with something
- I’m down with a fever
- I won’t be able to come to work today
- I don’t feel 100%
You should read on to learn what to say when calling in sick or saying you’re sick in an email. We’ve provided examples to help you understand each one in more depth.
1. I Feel Under the Weather
If you need another way to say “I am not feeling well,” you could start with “I feel under the weather.” It’s a great formal alternative that lets your boss know you are sick without going into too much detail.
“Under the weather” is a great generic phrase. It shows that you aren’t feeling well but do not wish to divulge further information. After all, you don’t want to embarrass yourself by telling someone exactly what you’re ill with.
You should refer to the following example to help you:
Dear Mr. Jackson,
I feel under the weather today. Is there any way that I can be put on a different shift later in the week?
All the best,
2. I’m Not Feeling My Best
It’s great to use something like “I’m not feeling my best” as well when emailing your boss. It shows you how to tell your boss you’re not feeling well without giving too much away.
However, “I’m not feeling my best” is a bit insincere. You shouldn’t use it if you’re trying to get a full day off work. You should only use it when you are trying to rearrange a meeting because you feel like you will feel better on another day.
Also, check out the following to see how it works:
Dear Ms. Tethers,
I’m not feeling my best right now. Can we rearrange the plans for another time, as I’m not feeling well today?
3. I’m Afraid I Do Not Feel Well
Being apologetic is good when you don’t feel well in the workplace. After all, it could mess up the day’s working rota. A phrase like “I’m afraid I do not feel well” is a good way to do this.
You should include it in an email to your boss when you feel bad for calling in sick. It shows that you regret feeling too bad to come to work, but there’s nothing you can do about it.
Here’s a quick example to show you how it works:
Dear Mr. Tate,
I’m afraid I do not feel well, so I am not coming to the coffee and lunch meeting. Can we reschedule?
4. I Do Not Feel Great Today
It’s also worth using “I do not feel great today” to keep things simple when you feel unwell. It’s a formal synonym for “I am not feeling well” that lets someone know you’re not OK.
The inclusion of “today” in the phrase suggests that you might feel better tomorrow. You can leave “today” out of the phrase if you’re unsure how you will feel as the day continues.
You may want to refer to this example to help you:
I do not feel great today. I’m afraid I’m going to have to spend the day at home while I recover.
All the best,
5. I Would Appreciate the Day off to Recover
You won’t know whether you’re entitled to a sick day until you ask for it. So, a polite phrase like “I would appreciate the day off to recover” will go a long way to help you find out.
It shows you how to tell your boss you’re not feeling well. It also lets them decide whether you can take the day off to help you get back to your normal working self.
Here is an email sample to show you more about it:
I would appreciate the day off to recover while I’m suffering from this illness. Is that okay?
6. This Illness Is Getting the Better of Me
“This illness is getting the better of me” is a decent alternative to “I am not feeling well.” You should use it to rearrange a meeting or plan you might have had with someone.
It doesn’t give too much away, which can save you a lot of embarrassment, depending on the illness. However, it suggests that you’re still OK to work, but you might just need to take it easy for a bit to help you recover.
This example email should clear things up if you’re still unsure:
Dear Ms. Owen,
This illness is getting the better of me, I’m afraid. Is there any way that we can rearrange our meeting?
All the best,
7. I Might Be Coming Down With Something
You can say something like “I might be coming down with something” if you’ve only just noticed symptoms developing. It shows that you’re in the early stages of an illness and might need to call in sick later.
Of course, this phrase is a respectful way to let your boss know you’re unwell. It shows that you can still work, but you might get too sick to continue.
“I might be coming down with something” is a warning for your boss, so they can plan ahead in case you get too sick.
Perhaps the following sample email will help to clear things up:
Dear Mrs. Catford,
I might be coming down with something. For now, I’m OK to continue working, but I’ll have to be more cautious.
8. I’m Down With a Fever
It’s worth replacing “I am not feeling well” with “I’m down with a fever” if you want to be slightly more specific. It shows that you do not feel great and would like to take some time to recover.
Generally, a fever makes it difficult to work. So, you might need to use this phrase to call in sick and take the day off. It’s direct and lets your boss know that you might need the day to recover.
You can also refer to this example to help you with it:
I’m down with a fever at the moment. Is there any way we can plan another time to discuss the meeting notes?
9. I Won’t Be Able to Come to Work Today
It pays to be direct. So, a phrase like “I won’t be able to come to work today” is a good one to use. It directly tells your boss that you do not intend to work because you feel too sick.
Of course, it’s up to you to decide how much you tell them. You don’t have to tell your boss what you’re sick with. A simple “I won’t be able to come to work today” is usually enough for most employers.
The following email sample should show you more about it:
I won’t be able to come to work today. I am far too sick to be of any use in the office.
All the best,
10. I Don’t Feel 100%
Finally, “I don’t feel 100%” is a great alternative if you want to sound a bit more casual. It’s still useful in professional emails, but the tone is a little bit more friendly.
So, you should use it when emailing your boss if you work in a more casual environment. It shows that you’re too sick to come in and would like to take a day or two off work to help yourself recover.
Check out the following example if you’re still not quite sure:
I don’t feel 100% at the minute. Can we rearrange the meeting so that I have time to recover properly?
All the best,
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.