I was sick yesterday

I don’t get sick very often, but the recent hot-cold shifts in the weather got me and yesterday morning I woke up with a cold.

I felt sick. My throat was sore. My skin hurt. I had dark circles under my eyes. My girlfriend was taking care of me, but if she wasn’t here, I was not so sick that I couldn’t take care of myself and run to the store for tissues and soup. I could have made it through the work day if I had to.

I work for myself — if I don’t work, I don’t get paid. And I had three clients on my schedule yesterday. My practice is still new, I’ve only been open for 7 months at this point, and three clients is a decent chunk of income for me. I could have taken some medicine and powered through with my clients…

One of my policies in my practice is that if you are sick, keep your germs at home and in return I will do the same. This policy is partly to keep me from getting sick ;) but also, it keeps all of my clients safe. I help a lot of folks with chronic pain from health conditions, some of which compromise immunity. It is important to me that my clients feel that my treatment space is a safe place where they can protect and improve their health.

And, it’s the most basic of self care! My body had said, “Hey, we need a minute. Slow down and take care of me!” Self care is sometimes about doing the hard work of not doing the hard work. Even though it was difficult to say no to the income and helping the clients, the best thing for me was to stay home and rest.

Our culture values production. It places value on your worthiness based on how much you do. This creates unnecessary stress. Even though I knew that I had to rest and get well, I actually felt guilty for being sick and taking time to care for myself because it would mean that I couldn’t “do my work” and make money.

This morning, I have been rewarded. I woke up feeling almost entirely well. I will stay home and do office work today to ensure that I am completely noncontagious before seeing clients again.

I am thinking about how things could have gone differently if I had decided to push through and not rest. First, none of my clients would have gotten my best work because I was not in my best form. Plus, they would have then been exposed to my illness which could have then spread to their families, co-workers, friends, and so on. I would have gone to bed feeling poorly and slept poorly, waking up feeling worse than the day before. I would have stayed sick the rest of the week, preventing me from getting my own massage on Wednesday and visiting my family in Maryland over the weekend.

I know this pattern is all too common and for various reasons we don’t all have the luxury of being able to take off work. Taking care of yourself as well as you can by supplementing with herbs, extra vitamins and minerals, eating healing foods, and resting as much as possible can make a difference in getting you back to good health quickly.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash