How many of you are coughing, sneezing, fighting a fever and still manage to show up to work? How many of you are going home and trying to do everything you normally do, as if things were alright? I have done just that in the past few days and learned a great lesson.

I showed up to work not to let down the team. I walked around like a zombie, constantly looking for a tissue box everywhere I went. I smiled at others courageously, while fighting nausea. At the end of my shift, I updated my colleagues ready to start their shift in between my sneezing and blowing my nose, while they were politely and discreetly disinfecting the keyboard of my computer and the area around it. When I went home, I made an effort to wash the dishes and take out the garbage, while telling myself that the cold was not so bad and it would pass soon anyway. I kept on going until my husband stopped me. He took one look at me and asked: “If you are sick, why are you not sick in bed?” His comment stunned me. He was so right. Yet, even then, I was worried about the blog I still had to write. Finally, he managed to talk me into going to bed, without having even started my blog.

Being alone with my thoughts, I made a discovery. Being positive about getting well does not mean ignoring the fact that I am actually ill. I have to admit that I was born an optimist; the glass is always half-full. However, being an optimist does not mean having to live in denial. After all, I can only get better, if I admit being sick in the first place. Admitting that I am actually sick helps me to assess the situation. It offers an opportunity to slow down so that my body can focus on getting better. If I ignore my body’s request and keep going, it does not have an opportunity to focus its strength on getting better. For this reason, admitting to being sick is actually the first step to being positive about getting well. It means offering the tools to my mind and body to work toward the mental image of being well.

This is my day off and I am in bed getting better. By admitting to being ill and slowing down, I am making a giant step toward being better. No more pretending!

Are you ill? Stop pretending! Just like with every other problem in life, the first step is to admit it to yourself. So, go home! Go to bed! Be sick when you are sick! Give yourself a chance to get better!

M. J. Mandoki