Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. “
-Matthew 11:28 NLT
Earlier this week I was knocked down by a fever and cold, which was probably circulating around my school and family for a few weeks. I had been doing a pretty good job of eating well, getting enough sleep and exercise. Despite my best efforts using remedies for a cold, I was in for about 7-10 days of this business until I felt better. We had a snow day on Monday, which was great for me so I could take it easy at home, sort of. When you have toddlers at home they always want to play! By Monday night, I was in full-on sickness with a fever and I knew if I went into school tomorrow I would be miserable. I thought about just toughing it out, but after my wife convinced me to stay home and I finished my emails and lesson plans for the next day, I felt better going to sleep that night.
As I checked my email later that next day to see what I was missing out on, I found a lot of emails reassuring me that everything would be taken care of from my colleagues and that my students were in good hands. It was so great to have such a great support system to help each other out when we are sick or if something comes up. In teaching especially, it is my feeling that you need to take care of yourself first and then your students. If you are sick, then you will not be able to give 100% to your students, and they deserve that every day you are there.
Some of us have pretty demanding jobs whether it be in education, healthcare, public service, etc. that take a toll on our body physically, and emotionally. I also feel that if you have personal days and you want to take one then you certainly should. You should not have to feel bad about taking a personal day off of work. A day or so every once in a while could be exactly what you need to recharge and do something fun by yourself or with your family. Some folks like to go on field trips with their kids, go on a date with their spouse, enjoy nature, or get a few things done around the house. If you are thinking about a personal day here in the near future, you want to make sure you are considerate of your colleagues and your employer.
Some of the major reasons people take personal days are:
- Doctor’s appointment/family emergency’s/moving– Sometimes things come up like taking a family member to the doctor and they may only have openings on days you are working.
- It’s been a long time since you have had a day off- You may have just gone through many busy seasons at work and you just need to recharge and catch up. You may have been working so hard that you just need time to get groceries and catch up on laundry!
- Feeling burned out – Maybe you are starting to be unhappy with your work and others are starting to notice around you. If you find yourself missing deadlines, dreading going into work, etc. you may need a day to recharge or to think about ways to find more ways you can find your career more fulfilling. Here is an article from the Mayo Clinic on recognizing and dealing with burnout.
Here are a few things to consider when planning out your next vacation or personal day:
- Give plenty of notice – Make sure you give your employer ample time so they can get a replacement for you or redistribute your assignments to other colleagues. If you are a teacher, you will want to find a good substitute that works well with your classroom.
- Plan around big meetings/presentations- Along with giving plenty of notice, make sure you check your calendars to see if you have any meetings or presentations coming up. I have a lot of IEP meetings to work around so I need to check my calendars monthly.
- Pick a good day– Sometimes this can be hard, especially if you have a family emergency, but if your company has a slower time (Fridays in the summer, after tax season, etc.), then those would be better days to take off than your busy season. Your co-workers will appreciate that too!
- Cover for other colleagues– If you know you are coming up on vacation or personal day, try to help out some of your colleagues with the workload so they are not swamped while you are gone. This will go a long way with them and they will likely return the favor when they take some time off.
Not everyone has as such a supportive administration and coworkers as I do when it comes to taking a day or two if you need it. Everyone pitches in together to help others out when they need it. If you are feeling like you need a day to recharge or you are sick, do not feel bad about taking those days. That is what they are there for. Take that time, recharge your batteries and get back to what God has called you to do, and give 100%. At the end of the day and week, you will be glad you did. Looking for some things to do on that personal day, check out this article for some great ideas! Have a great week!