I had the hardest time taking time off work this week.
In retrospect, I should’ve called in sick from the start.
- Morning – Itchy throat and slightly achey body. Attributed it to the past 48 hours spent skiing and staying up late with friends.
- Early evening – Ready to go to bed before sunset. Very tired and physically drained.
- Night – Confirmed fever. Fell asleep with an ice pack on my head. Woke up three times to take medicine, each time feeling nauseous and miserable.
- Morning – Convinced myself I was feeling better and went to work. Noticed several other people were out sick that day too, but didn’t think anything of it. Later realized there might be something going around the office.
- Day – Somehow on the day I was feeling drained, feverish, I managed to grind through a 10 hour work day (for no good reason).
- Evening – Fell asleep by early evening and slept 10 hours.
- Morning – Honestly felt better! Went to work.
- Mid-morning – My co-worker mentioned how the flu might be going around. Started feeling light-headed again. Quickly looked up flu symptoms, realized it can be contagious and that I should really go home and rest. Note: I called my mom for further affirmation that I should go home because I was putting both my co-workers and myself at risk.
- Late mid-morning – Went home, ate a quick lunch, and proceeded to sleep 12 hours.
We can call this a really short “work week”.
I’ll admit: I was being totally foolish, stubborn, and stupid by not calling in sick on Monday.
The moment I wasn’t feeling good, I should’ve said “No” to working and “Yes” to taking care of my health first.
I’ve been officially “adulting” for the past four months and for some reason it never clicked in my brain that in addition to planning vacations, personal goals, and career moves, we also have to take into account time spent on the unexpected situations that may arise too (Duh, that’s why have insurance).
It’s not like we can pencil in a weekend to get sick. But we can give ourselves some buffer space and time for the unexpected detours, roadblocks, setbacks, and resets.
When I got sick this week, I wasn’t ready to admit that I needed to rest and sleep. I think I worked 10 hours on Monday just to prove to myself that I was fine. I literally had to call my mother to further convince myself that going home was the right decision even though my body and my co-workers were saying “GO HOME!!!”
The stubborn and stupid part of me couldn’t get myself to given in. In my mind, resting was the exact opposite of productivity. It felt like losing a game for no good reason.
Why would I use paid time off (PTO) for anything other than vacation?! There’s still so much (productive) work I could be doing! I’m not a day-time napper. I don’t nap. I can fight a fever solely with the strength of my mind.
Present Tayzau now knows this is very very not true.
Staying home sick is not a sign of weakness.
It may be less productive, but you are also protecting other people at work from getting sick. You are giving your body the time and rest it needs to heal itself so that you can return to work again.
We (aka I) need to take the time to squash the destructive voice inside our heads and listen more closely to those who care around us… listen more closely to ourself… and listen more closely to our respective higher powers of reason and truth.
And then instead of trying to fight a battle in vain, allow ourselves to rest today so that we have the strength to continue forward for many tomorrows to come.