The Good in Getting Sick

I never saw it coming. This week I became sick. Again.


As a teacher of young children, this comes with the territory. Many of them haven’t learned yet how to cover their coughs or to use a tissue to wipe their nose rather than their hand.

However, I take good care of myself. I would think I could avoid getting sick. I take my vitamins everyday. I eat my fruits and vegetables. I exercise. I give dirty looks to people who don’t wash their hands after they sneeze…still, it never is enough.

So what is it then? Why do we still get sick?

Here’s what I’ve learned. It’s more than just the germs. It’s how we allow ourselves to be affected by everything going on around us and within us. Take a look at what you were doing before you became sick, whenever it last was. Were you running around doing a million things? Were you stressed with work? Were you so busy taking care of everyone else’s needs that you neglected your own?

Prior to getting sick, I allowed myself to get really run down. I was stressed with work and drowning in piles of paperwork. Seriously, I can’t even begin to tell you how many trees I must have killed. I felt frustrated with my job. I love my job but for those few days I allowed myself to be negatively effected by the work that I didn’t keep up with.

So the good in getting sick? It forces us to slow down. We can’t rush from one obligation to the next. We don’t have the energy! We have no choice but to stop and take care of ourselves. You have to rest in order to heal. This week, although I went to work, I came home and instead of putting my running shoes on or diving head first into my paperwork, I plopped myself on the couch. I turned on the TV and watched reruns of The Middle and The Golden Girls. It felt great.

Now, not everyone has the luxury of being able to do that when they’re sick. Many have children or elderly parents to take care of or a job with long, late hours. But when you can, find some time to take care of you.

Better yet, why wait till your sick? Start now. Take some time every day to tend to your soul. Read a chapter from your favorite book, go for a walk, listen to music, cuddle with a pet. Something. How can we take care of the other people and tasks in our lives unless we are well? Never forget that you owe it to yourself to take care of YOU!