How do you deal with work when you're tired or sick?

Q&A With Shay Each Sunday

I happen to be pretty sick this weekend, which isn’t something that happens to me often. Not only is it really frustrating to feel this way, but it also interferes with work, as everyone knows.

Q: How do you deal with work when you’re tired or sick?

A: So, as I mentioned, I don’t get sick often. I eat very healthy and have a lot of good health and nutrition habits, minus my coffee habit probably, but it could still be worse! So, this helps me stay pretty healthy most of the time. However, I do feel tired more often than I’d like. I know most of us can relate to this feeling, and it’s frustrating having to push through anyway. I’m not exactly sure why I don’t feel refreshed even with sleeping 8-9 hours a night most nights. I do have a sleep disorder, I also struggle with mental “illness” and anxiety, which has been known to be exhausting. I work out a lot. Also, it’s possible that coffee can have the opposite effect, which may happen to me—I might experiment with that at some point, but I love coffee so much.

So, when I’m tired or sick it’s not easy to write and edit, just like with doing anything under these circumstances. I try to make it a point to get at least some work done everyday even if I’m not feeling up to it though. Sometimes I just want to lay on the couch for the whole night, but I’ll force myself to do a little more work. Maybe it’s my underlying feelings of guilt that push me forward. And I’m not trying to act like I’m the most productive person in the world, because I know I’m not, and often times I do blame this on being tired, just as we all do. But I think it’s really important for me to make it a point to get something done toward my goals whenever I can, even if I don’t feel like it.

Of course, if you’re really exhausted and so sick that you just need to rejuvenate, then you aren’t doing yourself much good by trying to push through working. Sometimes rest is the best thing you can do for yourself. These might seem like conflicting ideas but it’s about knowing when you’re capable and if getting just a bit done will be helpful, but also knowing when you need that break. This has been my approach for the most part when it comes to exhaustion. Maybe sometimes I could push myself a bit more, but there have been times I planned to work and I felt so intensely exhausted that I had to put my computer away and give myself permission to rest. Giving ourselves permission is something we should all keep in mind so we aren’t constantly belittling ourselves.

I guess, in short, it doesn’t seem there’s a clear answer to working when tired or sick. Sometimes you’re forced to push through, whether it’s by your own accord or someone else, and sometimes you’re allowed to rest. I strive for both, and sometimes I feel guilty for resting, so that’s something I want to work on. Unfortunately, guilt pushes us more than we know, but I’m not convinced it’s a good thing.

So, this weekend, I have felt pretty awful, and other than a couple tiny bits of work, including this blog, I’m giving myself permission to simply try and get well for the week ahead. It’s important to be aware that we need to devote as much time and maintenance to our bodies and minds as we do to our work. And that’s what I’m going to get back to tonight. Until next week!