When I was younger, I wouldn’t call in sick for anything. It was a source of pride that I would go to work half out of my death-bed as if the world would stop turning if I didn’t arrive. I remember teaching classes through sticky-notes- designating a student reader, and typing notes on the Smart Board for them to follow since I didn’t have a voice. That is really a testament to how awesome my students were, but the truth is that it was always more stressful relying on a sub than to just show up feeling like I’d been hit by a bus. Those days are over. Not only do I call in sick, I take mental health days now too.
We all go through funks. We have bad days/weeks/etc. and we just keep pushing through hoping it will just miraculously get better. Some of us are doing all the stuff- you know, the meditating, the exercise, the eating right- and still the funk remains. And when looking from the outside-in, it’s not difficult to understand. We go to work all day every day, get home each night and spend the evening taking care of evening needs (dinner, etc.) and getting ready for the next day, until the weekend finally comes only to then spend it catching up on all the household crap that we didn’t get done during the week, finishing just in time for a new work-week to start.
Groundhog’s Day anyone?
When do we breathe? When do we truly just stop? And if we haven’t had a chance to get away and play for a while or do something for ourselves, it can really start to compound until all the sudden we are downright shitty, wondering how we got to this point. Why do we do this? Well I don’t anymore.
What I’ve come to learn is…
– Sometimes I just need a break from my life. Sometimes I need to stay home, stay in bed just a little longer than usual, take my pace just a little slower, and let my mind rest. Sometimes I need to be a zombie.
– That the work will still be there when I get back (unfortunately lol), the world will not stop turning (surprisingly), and everything is going to be just fine while I’m out (this has been proven).
– That I will be better equipped to deal with all of it after taking a day of needed rest. I won’t be as snarky, short-fused, anxious, or even just blah, if I take what I need when I need it.
Now this is not suggesting people just go bananas and abuse their sick time. I’m not condoning the idea of taking a day off every week (though that schedule would be lovely). It’s about not letting the stress and the demands of everyday life come before our personal mental health needs. When our minds are suffering, soon to follow are our bodies, and it becomes a vicious cycle that will continue to get worse. It’s about getting ahead of the funk if possible. Get in tune with your mind and body so that when you start to feel that things are a little “off” you can be proactive and help yourself.
And if helping yourself is still too difficult an idea, frame it so that it’s about others. By taking a mental health day and getting yourself together, you can be more present, helpful, loving, and all around awesome to the people in your life. If you aren’t at the point of knowing that you deserve your best self, then recognize that all the people in your life do.
Happy Zombie Day!