You called the office and informed the HR department that you’re taking a sick day at 7:30 this morning. HR told you to take care of yourself and politely thanked you for following the proper protocol. You’re feeling like you’ve done the right thing. You throw your favorite over-sized, ultra-cozy sweatshirt over your trembling limbs and wrap yourself in your favorite blanket.
And that’s when it hits you. What’s that? I’m glad you asked. GUILT, ladies and gentlemen. G-U-I-L-T.
You should’ve been stronger. You should’ve just gone in to work like a real hero. What’s wrong with you? Guilt purrs into your ear, making herself at home, curling up close to you on the couch.
I have a fever! You shout back at Guilt.
Guilt grins and boldly helps herself to a sip of your herbal tea. You’re letting the whole team down.
You’re right. You say defeated. I am going to spend the rest of the day shame spiraling for taking the day off because that’s what I deserve. You feel the sting of tears invade your eyes.
“Not. So. Fast.” You hear someone bellow from the kitchen. Who is that? You live alone!
I’m going to tell you who it is. It’s me. I’m the guilt police. And I’ve been tipped off that guilt has broken into your brain without a warrant. I’m here to take that guilt and lock it up in the local penitentiary for you.
Starting with step one.
1. Remember: No one *actually* cares.
Look, I’m going to get real with you. I care about you. Your loved ones care about you. Likely, your coworkers care about you too.
But allow me to bestow you with a serious life-truth: They don’t care that you’re taking a sick day! No one is judging you for taking a full workday to recover from whatever illness is taking residence in your body right now. In fact, they likely heard that you weren’t going to be in the office today, murmured something like “cool” and then went back to doing their own thing. Everyone is far too wrapped up in their own insecurities, their own fears and their own responsibilities, to truly care about the fact that you *dared* to take a day off! In the big scheme of things, your lack of physical presence for one day is not important to anyone (except for yourself).
And you know what? Thank goodness! It’s liberating to remind yourself that you are nothing but a tiny speck of sand in a giant, fabulous, ever-spinning world.
2. Remember: No one wants to catch your sickness.
No one cares that you took a day off, but everyone will care if you stumble into the office sputtering and sneezing and breathing your toxic, contagious germs all over the office. And by “care” I mean they’ll be annoyed. They’ll be annoyed that you didn’t consider them when you forced yourself to come to work, fever and all.
Hey, maybe your favorite coworker has kids. Kids that are starring in their middle school production of “Oliver” this weekend and would be devastated if they missed their first stab at being on stage because they caught the flu. From their dad. Who caught it from you. You and I both know that you don’t want to be that person. No one does. So for the love of fresh Upper West Side bagels, get over feeling bad!
You staying home is a gorgeously selfless act.
3. Remember: You can’t show up for your job when you’re run down.
You will never shine as brightly as you truly are capable of shining when you’re not at your healthiest. Your brain is foggy, your energy is low and your emotions fly bizarrely high when you’re sick. When you’re healthy and vibrant you are the best version of yourself. And when you’re the best version of yourself you execute the best work. Which is why health must always be the number one priority in your life. And here’s the thing about health: You must honor your health. When your health is down, you must nurture it by resting.
If you really, truly, madly, deeply care about your job and career you will take a full day off and allow yourself to recover, so you can truly show up for your coworkers as the sparkly bright beam of light that you are!
So relax. And most pressingly, be sure to book a sickday.com appointment so you can be provided with the tools to help you fully recover!