Two weeks ago I started feeling a little sick and like most women, I pushed through it thinking I had too much to do to give into sickness. I “just” had a scratchy throat and some sniffling. School was about to start, I had several hearings on my calendar to get ready for and I had coaching clients who needed help strategizing for their 4th quarter goals. There were too much to do and too many people depending on me.
I know all of us have heard people say how important it is for you to take care of yourself. We commonly hear the analogy to the flight safety instructions that tell you to place the mask on yourself before you try to help others. There are lectures on it, there are books on it, and I even make self-care for professional women one of my speaking topics. So if we know how important it is to rest and take care of ourselves, why is it still so hard for us to follow what we know is essential to our well-being?
In today’s world, where we wear so many hats and try to be everything to everybody, we often view rest as a luxury that we can’t afford. We tend to view ourselves as tough enough to push through anything in order to get the job done. We tell ourselves we can rest later, but later never comes because there is always another task that has to be done.
After a few days of sniffling and trying to self-medicate and push through what I assumed was a summer cold, I decided to go to the doctor. I was diagnosed with a sinus infection and pink eye and was given a prescription and told to rest.
After leaving the doctor’s office, I went by my office got some files and planned to “rest” while working from home. My hard head rationalized that if I was not in the office but was home in the bed with my laptop that I was “resting”. After an hour or so of working, I decided to lay down “for a minute”. That minute turned into a 3 and a half hours nap. Apparently, although my mind was saying I did not need rest, my body certainly did. When my husband got home with the kids, he told them that Mommy needed some rest and they did homework, got dinner and got ready for bed, without my assistance.
After 24 hours of rest and medication, I was good as new. I felt great. I was rested and symptom free. I was able to go back to work and guess what, everything I felt was so urgent to do was still there waiting on me.
I share this with you because I know someone out there is exactly like I was and I want to remind you to take care of yourself and that you have permission to rest. I think about if I have kept going and had not gone to the doctor. I would have likely gotten sicker where it would have taken longer than 24 hrs. to get better and I probably would have infected someone else with pink eye.
To keep going while you are sick doesn’t make you a heroin nor should it be worn as a badge of honor. It is irresponsible and selfish. Yes, people need you. But they need you at 100% and the only way to stay there is by taking care of yourself. I encourage you to listen to your body. It knows what it needs and you know when something is not right.
Don’t put your health and wellbeing on the back burner. Prioritize yourself. There is a lot of world out there and when you take care of yourself, you are in a better position to conquer it.