Yes, you’re a professional who has a job with responsibilities, but you’re also a human. Sometimes things that go along with being a human, like getting sick or having a family emergency, don’t go so well with your professional responsibilities. It’s hard to find balance because our personal and professional lives are both important, but sometimes one takes priority.
I am blessed to work with great people in an understanding and supportive district. I have a wonderful work family who completely gets that I’m a human first. Sometimes it’s hard for me to accept this and not feel guilty when I need to take a sick day or deal with an urgent family matter. So I’m writing this post to remind you guys that you’re a human first, and you shouldn’t feel guilt about that. I also want to let you know if you don’t feel like you work with understanding people or don’t have support from your district there are others out there that will understand and support you.
But you have to do your part too. You need to be professional and put time into growing in your career. You can’t abuse the system and slack off and expect a lot of support and understanding when you need extra help because of an unexpected life circumstance.
Sometimes taking a sick day is a difficult call. You might be able to push through, but you might get others sick and struggling through the day might make tomorrow even worse. Also, mental health days are a thing. Unfortunately, there can be a stigma about this, but the only way to decrease this stigma is to be more open and honest about the need for them. You might need to take a sick day for your mental health if you’re so distracted by something that you’re overcome with anxiety. Taking a day to address the issue could be best. If you’ve been neglecting taking care of yourself you might need some time to recharge and regenerate to your full self. If you need to go see your doctor or therapist it’s appropriate to take a sick day. If you had the flu no one would think twice about you staying home, so if you are battling depression, anxiety, etc. no one should think twice about you getting help from professionals.
Part of being human is sometimes we are selfish. Please remember we all need each other, and one day you will need to lean on others. Don’t be afraid to lean on them or ask for help, but when times are good for you take time to seek out others who need your help. Do what you can and sometimes just being willing to listen does more than you think. Also, sometimes people need financial support and while our personal finances are important please donate what you can when you can. If everyone gives a little it can add up to a lot for someone less fortunate. You can also donate time by helping around their house, watching their kids for free, or helping them with various tasks at work.
This post is also a gentle reminder that you don’t know what someone is experiencing in their mind or when they go home after work. So next time when someone seems to snap at you or forgets to do something important try to be more understanding and kind. It might be an inconvenience to you or it might seem like they didn’t care or poorly planned, but they might be dealing with a loved one passing away or going through a divorce, etc.
Don’t forget yourself either! Self-care is vital and not selfish- it’s smart and proactive. If you struggle in this area you might need to make a self-care goal or plan it in your schedule. It can be as simple as taking a walk in your neighborhood, finally calling your friend for a long chat, or taking a bubble bath.
Utilizing technology can help you take care of yourself. I recently downloaded a few apps that might help you. For meditation try downloading the Calm or Simple Habit apps. If you want to incorporate some exercise into your routine look into the Sworkit, YogaTime, or a couch to 5k app. To make healthier food choices try apps like LoseIt, Mealtime, or MyFitnessPal. There are even apps like, Thought Diary or Stigma, to help you track and manage your feelings and thoughts. For your financial self-care apps including GoodBudget and Mint can help you plan.
So yes, you’re a human, and we all are. We need to remember that more for ourselves and for others.