I’ve never been one to let myself off the hook, especially when it comes to work. I pride myself on getting things done, never missing a meeting, never taking a sick day. Many times during grad school, I taught my classes even if I had a raging head cold, or was doubled over with stomach pain. Others might cancel their classes, but not me.
I was sick last week, and just couldn’t crawl out of bed, so I decided to finally take a sick day. I cancelled my classes, emailed my students with their next assignment, and went back to bed. And a couple of surprising things happened.
First, I felt nearly 100% better for taking the day off. That one day of rest worked miracles, and I was able to get back in the game and be productive. Second, it wasn’t that big of a deal. Aside from a few unanswered emails, there were really no consequences of “dropping out” for a day. The world kept turning. People got along just fine without me.
I’m reminded once again that the martyr thing is counterproductive. We like to think the world can’t function without us, and it’s humbling to think that everyone will get along just fine. But it’s also a reminder to take care of ourselves; that sometimes, we should put our own well-being first. Nobody else will.
It took me a day to get caught up, and the missed day was well worth it. I’ll try to remember this the next time around.