I am as guilty of continuing to work when not feeling well (migraines) as many others are. While I would never expose my clients to anything communicable, I’ve always prided myself on working when I’m not 100%. Wrong! This isn’t just about an American attitude to power through no matter what. This is a dangerous attitude about pushing ahead with work, sports, etc. no matter how we feel.

Playing a sport injured is a badge of courage? No, it’s not. This is how you can injure yourself permanently and affect your health negatively in the long term.

If you’re sick, stop! Allow your body, mind and spirit to rest and recuperate. You wouldn’t push your kids to go to school sick or practice or play when they’re not up for it (at least I hope so).

Corporate America expects its workers to show up and work no matter what. It’s time to rethink this attitude. We need policies where if people are sick they still get paid if they don’t work. The COVID-19 virus has exposed what’s wrong with our work culture like nothing else has. We need sick and family leave for everyone! Whether you’re part-time or full-time, you need to be paid to stay home if you’re sick.

Shame on companies that keep their employees hours down (just under the limit) in order not to provide benefits to workers. This widespread policy has been exposed for what it is — using the many to enrich the few. It’s time to demand that companies change their ways and provide a living wage for their employees, including sick and family leave.

No one is indispensable! It doesn’t matter who you are. If you’re sick, take time off to recover. I will not work through my next migraine. I will take the day off to rest and recover. My clients will live if they miss a session. We’re finally starting to recognize that human beings get sick and need rest.

Next, we should focus on getting enough sleep, good nutrition and moving our bodies regularly to optimize our health and well-being. There’s a lot to learn through this pandemic and it’s past time to learn some of these lessons.

Our lives will be different when the virus subsides. Hopefully, we’ll be better prepared for the next one. In the meantime, we need to be more conscious as a society of illness. Why not start with helping people maintain good health before they get sick. Don’t work yourself to death! I don’t know anyone who on their deathbed expressed regret about not working hard enough! Usually the regret is that they put work before everything else. Your family and friends will be with you through illness and death; work, not so much!

I’m learning a lot during this stressful time. To be grateful for a home, food and loved ones. I’m grateful that I’m healthy and for the health of those around me. I’m happy to take the dog out for walks, and to be able to go for walks by myself or with a friend. Yesterday, my husband and I watched a male fox saunter through our back yard. It was wonderful to take the time to commune with nature. It’s one of the reasons that we love living here in Wayland.

Also, I’m learning to take better care of myself. I’ll share my own health story here. Since my physical six months ago, I’d been experiencing an elevated resting heart rate, particularly when I would go to bed at night. I was busy and ignored it.

Three weeks ago, I finally had my blood pressure checked and it was dangerously high. I was hospitalized overnight and have been struggling with different blood pressure medications to find the right combination that works for me. This is a familiar story for those who have been through it. One out of three Americans are on blood pressure medication. My mother was hypertensive and at 62 my genetics have caught up with me.

I’ve made many changes in my lifestyle — reducing sodium, losing weight, increasing my meditation, taking hot baths every night (lowers blood pressure) and not completing everything on my to-do list on a daily basis. I’m more tired then I used to be from the medication and need to adjust my schedule accordingly. Before this, I would have powered through regardless of how I felt. Not anymore. I’m taking the time I need to adjust to a new normal.

Please put your health first. If you don’t, who will? Model this behavior for your children. There is nothing heroic about working or competing when you’re sick or injured. Frankly, it’s selfish. This warrior mentality is not good for us. You’re not being weak by taking time off. Working through a major illness or going back to work quickly after giving birth will not make you a better human being. Perfect attendance awards need to go away. There is nothing “perfect” about ignoring your needs in order to feel omnipotent. You have my permission to take time off to rest and recover. That means mental health as well as physical health.

I will move forward with a different understanding of taking time off. I hope you do too.


This article was published in the Wayland Wicked Local –> https://wayland.wickedlocal.com/news/20200413/debra-goldman-of-wayland-stop-working-if-youre-sick