this title is a bit of “click bait,” i’ll admit. but there’s method to the madness. meaning, it’s a deliberate hit to your ego so that you sit back and question yourself.
because this is a question and lesson i desperately needed this week but failed to find until it was too late. and now, here i am with acute tonsillitis and a weekend of lying in bed instead of attending a yoga retreat i’ve been looking forward to for a good 3 months.
so, let me get to the point.
my body was giving me hints waaaaaay before i lost my voice and developed glands the size of golf balls. but i wasn’t listening. i had too much to do at work. only i could do it. it had to be done now, by 5pm, tomorrow. deadlines!
i was too important to take time off and recuperate…. or that’s what i liked to think.
the reality? i have amazing work colleagues who would have helped pick up the load, if i had bothered to ask for help. instead, i kept on, “keeping on.” it was only when i turned up to class and my students told me that i looked like shit (thanks, guys) that i took a step back and realised i needed to chill the fuck out.
sadly, we are so programmed to believe that in order to prove ourselves in the workforce we have to be “hard” workers. hard workers who push ourselves to the brink. hard workers who rack up hours in excess of our actual paid rosters. this idea that replying to emails all night and all weekend is normal and expected is so damaging. when do we switch off? how is ignoring pain, fatigue and illness considered the hallmark of success? is it worth it if it’s at the expense of our health and happiness?
and here we come to the irony of the title of this post… you are, in fact, really important.
so important that you should start putting yourself first. i’ve said it once and i’ll say it a thousand times… self-care is not selfish. i guarantee the world will not implode if you take a sick day. looking after yourself doesn’t make you weak. it makes you smart. healthy workers are happier works, who are in turn, more productive workers.
so, if you’re unwell, stay in bed. if you have a family dinner, turn off your phone. work can call someone else in. the email can wait. i promise.
put it this way… do you live to work or work to live?