Today I am “taking a sick day” (or since I am on school break and work on my own timetable maybe I should just call it a “do nothing day”) and recovering from a stomach bug. It wasn’t the worst stomach bug I have had, but I was pretty miserable last night and now am trying to rest and drink fluids. Its 1:45pm and I have already finished one movie. I am starting to feel better as the day goes on and starting to feel my usual guilt about spending the day on the couch not doing anything “productive” (even if that means going to the grocery store).
I had so much guilt when I was younger about everything. I always was in fear of breaking some moral code. When I didn’t feel well I would agonize over whether I should go to school and if I was really “sick enough” to stay home. I was worried that what if I started feeling better everyone would think I had been faking. Meanwhile, my parents or school authorities knew me pretty well and never thought this, but I still felt like it was violating some moral code to take a sick day if you weren’t deathly ill. I think this was also tied to the fact that in order to feel like I was taking a sick day I couldn’t have any pleasure and should be miserable the whole day.
I have no idea where this feeling came from and I was surprised to realize it has still stuck with me. I feel wary of being taken care of because I expect the person taking care of me to to say, “oh come on you are fine.” For some reason thinking that I only can be taken care of when I am in the worst situation. Forgetting that I am happy to take care of the people I love and they are happy to take care of me – in all levels of “severity”. In line with my idea of being content. I am trying my absolute best to just be. I can feel happy I am feeling better and not worried that I am overreacting by laying on the couch all day. Furthermore, it is quite amazing that I am sick at a time when I have no pressing obligations and can lean into it.
Some people advocate for taking sick days every once in awhile to let your body just rest and recover from life. Maybe my body would rest, but I would really have to work on getting my mind to shut up. Some parts of my uncomfortableness with taking a sick day result from the fact that I think I should spend all my time doing something productive. Despite the fact that I do know there is value in just resting and reading a book. The other part of my difficulty with taking a sick day is that I function by routines and plans. When my plans change I often feel out of sorts. Again, something else I know I need to work on because I have learned that no matter how amazing I am at planning, there are too many things I can’t control.
I am going to look at taking a sick day as practice for me and part of my process of growth. Maybe I keep coming down with bugs because I need to figure out how to slow down and learn how to rest and relax (either that or my weak stomach). And if I am really all about following directions, guilt was not part of the doctor’s recommendations.