The answer may surprise you
When you are not feeling well, your productivity takes a massive hit. It may seem that your time is being wasted, and that the best thing to do is curl up under the covers and sleep until you feel better. This is why companies give sick days, afterall.
However, if you are working as a solopreneur or a freelancer, your clients are not going to bend their deadlines just because you are not performing at your best. They expect results regardless of the situation.
I faced a similar dilemma recently when I launched the Discovering Your Ikigai course and had 30 new clients waiting for their first seminar. I could feel my throat tightening and my temperature rising. But calling in sick was not an option. And in most cases, it shouldn’t be for you either. Here are three reasons why.
You can still get some of the work done even at less than your best
Choosing tasks that require less mental power, and adjusting your priorities will allow you to get something done rather than having work pile up while you are away. That will make your work more manageable in the long run. While you may feel a sense of worthlessness in being a body at the desk, you are still getting something done and that makes all the difference.
Work from Home
Since the onset of COVID, there have been more opportunities to work from home. For better or worse, this means that when you are in a contagious state, you could theoretically work from home too. In addition, if you have sick kids you could spend some time on the job even if that is from home. Getting some work done is better than zero production.
Most bosses expect you to work, even when you are sick
58% of managers thought that employees should come to work with flu-like symptoms. Additionally, more than 60% reportedly expected employees to work while experiencing severe physical ailments like back pain or recovering from surgery, according to this article by the BBC. It may seem unbelievable that managers are so unsympathetic to their staff, but this is a byproduct of our results-driven society where meeting deadlines is one of the key performance indicators (KPI).
There are of course, times you should call in sick. If you work as a manual laborer and feel dizzy, or have a high fever that leaves you disoriented, are infectious, or have a high fever, you should visit a doctor and stay at home. Usually if you can be productive at all, do your best to make a contribution.
In game five of the 1997 NBA finals, Michael Jordan played despite having food poisoning. He had been throwing up all night, and he was feeling very weak at game time. Yet, he still found it in himself to suit up and play. When asked about being on the court for 44 of the games 48 minutes and scoring 38 points, including the game-winning three, he said:
I didn’t wanna give up, No matter how sick I was or how tired I was, or how low on energy I was. I felt the obligation to my team, to the city of Chicago, to go out and give that extra effort.
Few of us will ever experience life on the level of a professional sports championship. Yet, we will all have times we are depended upon. Times when we can not bring our best. It is in those moments that we need to dig deep, relying on the knowledge, skills, and intestinal fortitude that is inside to make a difference in our work. It may not seem like a big deal to miss time, and maybe you think it’s your right. After all, we do get sick days. But the people you serve depend on you. What is your sense of obligation to them? For me, 30 new clients were glad I did not call in sick.
If you do need to work when you are sick the last thing we usually want to do is eat. However, finding foods with rejuvenation powers could have you back to some version of normal quickly. Here are seven superfoods that can speed your recovery. And a bonus at the end.
Garlic helps to boost immunity. Many people swear by garlic’s ability to help maintain good health or quickly get you back to normal. I was sick recently, and a couple days of cooking with extra garlic helped me.
Cooked onions are high in antioxidants, vitamins B & C. Onion soup is one of my favorite ways to eat them when I am not feeling well. Onions are also good for your blood circulation. When you are sick, eating cooked onions makes them easier to digest.
Fish skin is full of nutrients, like Omega 3 and B vitamins. Simply fry it in the pan or bake it in the oven. I choose cuts with more skin or salmon which is a fish that is easy to prepare.
Broccoli is high in antioxidants, calcium, and vitamins C and K. It is also contains a wealth of nutrients, but is low in calories. Broccoli improves digestion and helps to reduce inflammation that commonly occurs when we are sick.
Nuts are high in fiber and protein. They contain high quantities of minerals. Don’t feel like eating a full meal because you’re under the weather? Nuts and a meal replacement drink are a good alternative.
Yogurt contains probiotics that help relieve an upset stomach. It also has vitamins and minerals that rapidly become depleted when your body is fighting illness. Yogurt is good to mix in smoothies for a power-packed liquid meal that is easier to digest than whole food when you’re not feeling well.
Warm and soothing. Soup is easy to digest and warms your body from the inside out. Choosing a clear soup like broth or onion is easy on the digestive system. Vegetable soups can provide you with most of the nutrients your body needs to recover from illness and it is a meal that you can keep on the stove and heat up all day long.
When you are not feeling well, it is easy to go to the drug store or medicine cabinet and look for a remedy. But eating your way back to health is gentler on the body and may see your condition change for the better more rapidly and consistently.
One new recipe I learned when I was sick last time was roasted garlic. Not only did it make my house smell great, cleansing the warm uncirculated air that is common when you are trying to stay warm, it was also super easy to prepare. You could eat a head of garlic every day with no adverse effects. Here is how you make it:
- 1 or more heads of garlic
- Olive oil
- Preheat oven to 170 C (350 F)
- Cut the top off of the head(s) of garlic
- Drizzle olive oil over the garlic, making sure to get some on each clove
- Wrap garlic in aluminum foil
- Cook for 30-45 minutes until garlic is soft
Eat cloves whole, smash and spread on toast or crackers or use in your favorite recipe.
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