November has been a rough month. I've been fighting off a cold basically since the end of September. My class has been growing, and most of my kids seem to have pretty difficult behavior issues. Lots of aggressiveness and anger. I've been in rehearsal for Night Before Christmas, and my weekends have been spent traveling to SCA events, visits to Ben, or other friends and family.
All of this is to say that I'm a little bit run down. Night Before Christmas is opening tonight and Monday night at dress rehearsal I felt that familiar twinge in my throat that indicates my voice is about to go.
I've been playing it easy, and holding back, but teaching all day plus rehearsing is totally killing me. I've also just been feeling exhausted. I decided to stay home Wednesday and sleep. I needed it, I had the sick time. Running myself into the ground does no one any good. But I felt HORRIBLY guilty.
In the past, I've been very judgey about colleagues, co-workers, cast mats calling in sick if they aren't actually sick. I've had friends call in because of hang overs, to socialize, do homework. I've never done that. I always made it to class as a student, and almost never call into work unless I'm literally throwing up, or can't get out of bed. Last year, I was actually home sick in bed for several days, laid out by a virus. At another time my colleagues made me go home because i literally couldn't speak. As a substitute I would go in when I had a cold, and some times I think I was sicker then the teacher who had stayed home.
But I have sick pay now. I have over 200 hours of sick leave now. And it's there for me to use when I'm not well. It does roll over, so I can save it for the future, in case I'm ever seriously ill. But it's there for me to use it. I am a better teacher if I am healthy. And staying home a couple of days right now can be the difference between me suffering through the last few weeks of school, or being engaged and heading energetically towards Winter Break. Not to mention, my show might be a casualty if I push myself to far.
But despite preparing, leaving good plans, and telling everyone ahead of time I have terrible guilt about taking the time. Is this anxiety? Imposter Syndrome? Am I worried I'm being lazy? What is this? Why can't I just accept that am not doing well and need the rest? I've never been particularly good at giving myself a break, and as a person who rarely gets TRULY sick, I think I often sell myself short when I'm just a bit under the weather. I may have a small cold for three weeks, instead of being laid out for just a couple of days.
Perhaps my recent focus on mindfulness and minimalism is allowing me to have more compassion for myself physically.
Either way, I'm staying home tomorrow and sleeping, and I feel confidant it's the right choice, and that guilty little voice can just shut up!