I am rarely sick. When I feel an illness coming on, I’m impatient, and never want to take the time out of life to rest enough and care for my body so it can deal with the illness before it blooms into something painful and enduring. I tend to just keep going, putting in token efforts to take the remedies, but taking the attitude of “I don’t have time for this. If I don’t keep going, who will do all that needs to be done?”

I did it again. I became ill on vacation, and when I got home I had two days where nothing was planned. Then on the third day, major responsibilities were back on my plate.

I could have taken those two days and stayed in bed. I could have rested while I had no commitments, let my body have all the sleep it was begging for, and started the healing process.

But I listened to the nagging thoughts in my head. “It would be so good to get THIS done…”,  or “You really ought to do THIS…”…and the two days quickly filled to the brim with tasks and I never rested. When the third day arrived, I was feeling worse, and the next two weeks were filled with congestion and coughs that seemed never ending.

Finally, last weekend, I had to give in. This had been going on for weeks, and apparently my body was giving me a message: Slow down! I had taken the grandchildren to a petting farm, and they’d had a wonderful time, but as the morning wore on I felt worse and worse, and before lunch time I knew I was in trouble. I took them home and let their mother feed them while I immediately went to bed. I piled on the blankets (now I was alternating between fever and chills) and fell asleep – and slept for five hours. I awoke long enough to drink some juice, and slept the rest of the evening and through the night.

I’d let it go on long enough I needed medical help, and I saw a doctor the next day. Finally now, after four days, I’m beginning to see improvement. But how much better would I most likely be if I’d taken those two days two weeks ago to take care of this?

When we are the only caregiver for our children, and all the responsibility for everything lies on our shoulders, we can think we don’t have time to take care of ourselves. Let this be a reminder that you’re much wiser to, as soon as possible, force yourself to carve out the necessary time to let yourself get better – BEFORE it turns into something much worse.

So if you’re coming down with something, call in reinforcements to help with children, job, and other responsibilities; do whatever you can to clear the calendar – and Take the Sick Day!