Life lessons

On giving myself permission

Last Monday, my alarm went off at 4:45 a.m. as it usually does. Having felt under the weather the day before, I had already warned my friend I was a ‘maybe’ for the gym in the morning. When I woke up, I realised I still felt crappy. My nose was still runny. My cough still pretty bad. I messaged her to let her know I wouldn’t make it to the gym but I’d see her at work. I reset my alarm for 6:15 and fell back asleep.

When the alarm rang, I pulled myself out of bed, showered and started to get ready for work. Except, I still felt awful. One eye was watery. My head hurt. I was still coughing and sniffling. And my body was a bit achy. I sat on my bed and thought about the day ahead at work. I had two new clients to see in addition to two regular clients. Four in all. There was no way I could not go in. Plus, given it was after a long weekend, I’d be expected to get a medical certificate even for taking one day off work.

My friend then messaged me. Turned out, she fell back asleep after she saw my message and didn’t get to the gym. She also added that if I wasn’t well, I probably should stay home. I texted back my dilemma – of new clients, of medical certificates, of not wanting to take a day off.

She told me two things – that if I came in sick, I’d be unproductive anyway. And that it would take me longer to get better. She also gave me the number for a local GP who bulk billed so I could pop in for a medical certificate.

That was the permission I needed.

I called in sick, called the medical centre, slept for an hour till my appointment. When I drove to the doctor – an eight-minute drive – I struggled as I was feeling horrible. Once there, I found out, I actually had a slight temperature. In short, I had the flu. He sent me off with recommendations to rest and drink lots of fluids, meds for my sinus pain and a certificate for two days off work.

After a brief stop at the chemist, a quick call to work that I’d not be in the next day either, I went back home and slept. I slept for most of the day. Fifteen hours according to my FitBit.

The next day, when I felt a bit human again, I was able to reflect on my stupidity from the day before. I couldn’t believe I’d wanted to go to work, to see clients when I could barely drive myself to see a doctor. When I had no energy for anything other than sleep.

It made me wonder why I don’t give myself permission to be sick. To not do some work. To relax when I have to. While I have become a lot better in allowing myself to feel uncomfortable emotions, or giving myself time to write or enjoy things, or even to not exercise sometimes, I notice when it comes to my day job, I really do push myself. For a workplace that probably does not care about me anyway. It’s also not like my clients won’t survive if I don’t see them – I work as part of a team who follow up anyway.

I need to look after my health. Particularly when it’s at work. It’s part of why I burnt out – I pushed myself to my detriment. I now make sure I take lunch breaks. If I have caught up with most of my work, or if I’ve taken a short lunch break, I’ll allow myself to go for a walk. Or to read.

But I need to do more. I need to give myself permission to sit back sometimes. To have a sick day if I am genuinely sick. To not take on a new client if I have a full caseload.

It’s a work in progress and something I need to be mindful of. Because in the end, neither my workplace nor my clients will do anything if my health suffers.

Do you give yourself permission to not be your best?

Do share!

***Linking with Denyse for Life this Week, Alicia for Open Slather and Corinne for Monday Musings***

Image source: Pexels

Until next time,

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  • Puja
    5 February 2018 at 10:03 pm

    Agree.. Nobody at work would give a damn. Hugs to you.. Hope you get better soon.

    • Sanch @ Sanch Writes
      5 February 2018 at 10:16 pm

      Yup no point killing ourselves over work! I’m a lot better now, thanks ?

  • John Holton
    6 February 2018 at 1:29 am

    Not to mention the fact you’d probably give the flu to one of your co-workers or clients.

    • Sanch @ Sanch Writes
      6 February 2018 at 6:46 am

      ? Yeah true, I got told later that if I had come in, they’d have sent me home anyway

  • Charlotte
    6 February 2018 at 9:56 am

    I love this post so much and am very glad to read that you have a friend who was able to point this out to you and that you gave yourself permission to take the time you needed to recuperate. We don’t always allow ourselves those allowances, and our work (and bodies!) suffer terribly for it. Good for you. You’re absolutely of no use to anyone in that shape, and if your body slept for that many hours straight, it’s clearly trying to tell you something 🙂
    Charlotte recently posted…February goalsMy Profile

  • Harini
    6 February 2018 at 2:41 pm

    I agree. First priority should always be ones health. Until and unless you are healthy you can’t help anyone. I usually let myself recover and not worry about anything as I know that I am useless and irritated when I am sick and that attitude won’t help anyone. I hope you are doing better now.

  • BellyBytes
    6 February 2018 at 4:44 pm

    Hey Sanch I hope you are better now. Don’t push yourself …. you have no one to take care of you but yourself….And being ill is not a weakness…. you are only human after all.
    BellyBytes recently posted…Of Pot luck & Sunday Brunches #FlavoursomeTuesdaysMy Profile

  • Soumya
    6 February 2018 at 5:39 pm

    I love you for writing this, Sanch. In my 10 year work experience, I probably would have called in sick about 8-10 times. No matter how sick I feel, I drag myself to work. Even if I take a leave, I’d feel so guilty for missing work. I know it is silly and that we are all human and sickness doesn’t make us weak, but still I never give myself the permission to fall sick.

    But there are days when I can barely do anything, thanks to migraine. Then, I give myself permission to let go and sleep in. I need to learn to do that every time I fall sick though.

    Hope you feel better soon, Sanch.
    Soumya recently posted…Padmaavat & The Missing ‘I’ #NotAMovieReviewMy Profile

  • Shilpa Gupte
    6 February 2018 at 5:41 pm

    That’s one thing I agree with wholly, Sanch. If you don’t take care of yourself, no one will. You have the right to take things easy if you are under the weather or just not feeling up to it. You are a human, not a machine!
    Take care, girl, and get well soon!
    Shilpa Gupte recently posted…Canteen favourite! #flavoursometuesdays.My Profile

  • Alicia O'Brien
    7 February 2018 at 10:50 am

    Fifteen hours sleep?! Yes please!!
    This is a wonderful reminder to look after me. I tend to not want to let people down, to live up to expectations or try to please, it’s me who suffers in the end. I am slowly learning to do what is best for me xx
    Alicia O’Brien recently posted…Let’s go to the zoo!My Profile

  • Menaka Bharathi
    7 February 2018 at 11:41 am

    That’s a wholehearted yes from me too, keeping ourselves healthy is the first thing we need to concentrate on. I too am lazy when it comes to looking after myself. I keep record of everything the others in family need to do – but when it comes to myself i need someone else to push me.

  • Nabanita Dhar
    7 February 2018 at 2:50 pm

    You make such a valid point, Sanch. Actually, you made me think. I often don’t give myself permission to rest, to be sick or even take off from work. You are right, we need to be more kind to ourselves. I too feel I’m almost on the verge of a burnout and that can’t be good for anyone. Hmm! You take care girl.
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  • Modern Gypsy
    8 February 2018 at 1:21 am

    Taking care of ourselves and putting our health first is so very important! Hope you’re feeling better now, Sanch! xx
    Modern Gypsy recently posted…Why You Should Adopt A Playful Approach To LifeMy Profile

    9 February 2018 at 1:55 pm

    We all need to give into introspection to give ourselves permission to love ourselves and take care of us. I have been living on my own for so long and one rule that I have for me is- dont fall ill! And if I do -then the first and only priority is to get better. Because if I am ill there is no one to take care of me and I have to get everything done. So the fastest way to recovery is to take care of me and rest can all wait!
    I am so glad you took the time off to get better; often we get bogged down by the nitty gritties of life and make them more important than self.
    Nicely written piece Sanch- love the graphic

  • Corinne Rodrigues
    9 February 2018 at 9:55 pm

    Sorry to hear you were unwell, Sanch. Sometimes we’re hardest on ourselves!

  • Denyse
    10 February 2018 at 7:02 pm

    The old ” what would I say to another person in this situation” is one I have used when I was sick and working. None of us likes to let the team, clients or staff down but sickness is what it is. I am glad you got to care for your body first. We are hard on ourselves to our detriment. I hope you are feeling better now. Thank you for linking up for #lifethisweek 6/52. Next Week’s optional prompt: Who’s a Worrier?”
    Denyse recently posted…January Daily Sentence & Video. 2018.13.My Profile

  • Zita
    18 February 2018 at 8:04 pm

    I came home from work Friday absolutely exhausted, runny nose and barely able to keep my eyes open… Saturday I pushed through and went to visit a friend because it was her birthday (a 4 hour round trip) today I slept til around 10am and stayed in bed til midday, only really moving to the couch… I text the friend I spent yesterday with a said I should go to work tomorrow because I have so much to do… she replied with ‘you should have a day off’ … like you, it was all I needed to know I should, and have another day to rest as if I go I’ll probably just fall twice as hard… tomorrow is about me!

    • Sanch @ Sanch Writes
      19 February 2018 at 4:59 am

      I hope you feel better soon Zita. I don’t know why we push ourselves so much!