I'm sick of this...
I’m just kidding, I’m not really sick of anything; but it did get your attention! What I was actually going to write about was the difficulty of being self-employed when you’re ill and the title just kinda jumped out at me.
Recently I got sick, not seriously so but a nasty little infection that really knocked me for six. I took Monday off sick, just the one day, I indulged in my illness and felt a bit guilty the whole time (when I wasn’t asleep because I slept A LOT that day!).
On Tuesday I dragged myself up, I went to the office and I worked a long day- it was mostly productive, I got more tired as the day went on and started to ache but, whatever, I was working and that was the main thing.
On Wednesday I had two infections. I know this because the GP told me, slightly incredulously, but still. On Friday I had three infections... you honestly can’t make this stuff up.
So, I stopped, I took more days off and I swear the guilt I felt was almost as bad as the pain. I hated resting, I hated not working and most of all I hated feeling like I’d let everyone down.
I don’t think that’s abnormal. Self-employed people don’t work and they don’t get paid, so being ill is an actual problem. However, trying to do too much only makes it worse. Had I not gone back after only one day I might not have been as ill for as long... who knows.
Guilt is a projection of our own anxieties, not a realistic reading of the situation. So, trying to guess what other people are thinking is pointless, try to focus on what the problem is and how you can solve it and if that’s taking your time to get yourself better then so be it.
What I do know is that working when you’re not your best means subpar work and that’s no good to anyone. I also know that taking time for yourself stops things getting bad and the results aren’t catastrophic- I took a few days off and my clients didn’t disappear, the work got gone in the end and everything is fine.
I also know that my GP is not self-employed as she diagnosed stress and suggested a couple of weeks off!