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Why Do We have to Feel Like Crap to Take A Day Off?

Our culture can be complicated. When I was working in an office, if you were sick and you took a day off, people judged you and made comments about why you should have come to work. If you came to work sick, they judged you about why didn’t you stay home! That is so messed up. After years of this behavior, we start to judge ourselves. I’m sure there were plenty of day I went to work with a cold when my health would have improved faster had I stayed home and rested. But I felt the pressure, and caved.

Recently I got a heck of a cold. There was no way I was going to be able to see clients. Just like that I was texting and calling everyone to let them know we would be rescheduling. I didn’t hesitate. I didn’t judge myself. It was done. I even took an extra day or two at the end of the cold to continue to rest. I needed it for my health. Sure, I could have worked still tired and exhausted. That would have been crappy service to my clients, and disrespectful to my body.

The question that arises is why do we have to be sick to take care of ourselves without guilt? Why can’t we plan days off of work for taking care of our health when we need a mental break, an emotional break, and a physical break from work. Not because we are stuffy, nauseated, overcome with cold symptoms, but because we need to rejuvenate so we DON’T have to deal with those symptoms. Preventative medicine. Take care of yourself so you don’t have to get sick and run down. We use to call this playing hookie and we would call in sick and then go to the zoo. I wonder, if we took care of ourselves in the first place, would we then have to “play sick” to rest.

My question for you is, do you take proper care of yourself and ignore the cultural pressures to work sick instead of rest? to compromise your health just to be at work for day? Maybe a few of us have incredibly critical jobs. Most of us don’t. Sure, it might be inconvenient for our co-works or clients, but unless we take care of our own health, who will?

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