And it’s not even diarrhea!: Taking time off when you’re sick

Guest post by Becky Martin (Chiayi, Taiwan)

In my adult live, with the exception of diarrhea, I have never taken a day off work due to illness. I’m not saying I’ve never been sick; I just never call in sick. Well, I’m writing this on my sick day off and I don’t even have diarrhea!

Becky on a promotional banner for her school in Chiayi, Taiwan.

Now I’m not a masochist and derive pleasure from pain, I’m not superhuman and never fall ill, but somewhere along the way I came to believe pushing through discomfort, pain and germs was admirable.

It’s not really. There’s nothing pretty being around someone whose flemmy with thick snot that’s being rocketed into a thin tissue, and then watch them inspect it. It’s not a nice sight to watch a pale and clammy person slowly move around the room and touch door knobs, computer keys, the fridge door knowing they are leaving behind a trail of crawling, microscopic bugs that want to crawl inside you! No one is thinking, “What a gal, look at her go!” No, they’re thinking, “Get your coughing, sweaty, bacteria infested face away from me!”

People don’t like to be around others who are sick, but it’s not just that, what are you proving by not taking care of yourself exactly? Well, after lying on the cold floor with kids at play time yesterday and letting them build toy structures on my face I was thinking about doing it all over again tomorrow. But then I thought, nope, I need to rest. I called my manager from the classroom and told her I was taking a sick day the next day.

You know what happened? She agreed that it was a good idea, my co-workers readily agreed it was a good idea, my husband jolted with surprise when I told him, then forbade me to do any chores and strict instructions to just rest. Nobody thought less of me (in fact my husband thought more of me), no one got angry and I’m coming to the realization that there really is no Superman award.

I read while lying on the couch, I watched a movie online, I drank lots of water, toured Facebook and caught up on a few emails. I feel better, not completely germ free, but I feel both physically improved and mentally improved.

I sent a message to myself today: you are worth the rest, and you deserve a break, I will take care of you and love you enough to acknowledge physical weakness with an act of gentle kindness.

Live a life that is healthy and strong, but when you do fall ill, treat with tender care.

My husband and I are English teachers in Chaiyi, Taiwan. I’m on mission to discover myself from everyday experiences and become the best version of me that I can be. (Click here to visit Becky’s blog.)

Got a lesson you learned from one of life’s absurd moments that you want to share? Click here to submit your story.

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Funny stories. Good advice. Check out my books, “Simple(ton) Living: Lessons in balance from life’s absurd moments.” and “Balancing Priorities and Prioritizing Balance”. Click here to learn more and to purchase a copy.

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