There’s no denying that daily grind of getting up and doing work. It’s ingrained in us from the time we start school. The idea of taking time off or staying home when you’re sick is frowned upon by parents, schools and your boss. Consistent attendance is rewarded by schools and then cherished by businesses. It’s healthy for capitalism but not for the individual.
There were numerous times over the years that I came to work sick. I dragged myself into school with a sore back, a bad headache or barely any voice. I remember in the days before automated systems, teachers had to call an actual person at 6:00 am to convince them they were sick, before being allowed to book off for the day. That HR person was feared by most teachers because she was infamous for firmly and aggressively refusing to let you take the day to recover. Her name still causes an involuntary shudder in anyone who taught back then. Automated systems are less terrifying but they don’t do anything to assuage the guilt of not showing up.
Improvements For Employees
Recognizing The Importance Of Mental Health
In recent years, the focus on mental health and the fear of COVID contagion have shifted the grind culture a bit. It’s become more acceptable to take a mental health day if you’re feeling overwhelmed or completely depleted. You don’t need to have a physical ailment. That’s a huge step forward in self-care. A mental health day here and there can make the difference between finishing a school year or going on disability.
Prevented From Working While Sick
The fact that for three years, most employers were refusing to allow workers to show up with any respiratory infections, meant that we felt comfortable taking time to recover. We only showed up to work when we were free of illness. What a concept! No more pockets stuffed with tissues and people coughing on one another.
Old Beliefs Are Hard To Shift
Despite these gains, I still had to talk myself into taking time off from my blog when it was my birthday. As my own boss, I had to give myself permission to take the day!
“What if I lose momentum for my blog? It’s just my birthday. I really should keep going.”
Old beliefs are difficult to change. Thank goodness I’m not as tough to convince as that scary lady in HR.
Have you given yourself permission to take time off from your regular routine lately? How did it feel?