“It must be so nice to have all that time.”
That’s a common response when people find out I’m on sick leave. I have to tell you, this time off is a mixed blessing.
Yes, it’s great to have time to evaluate my life. I certainly needed to take a break from my high-stress career-driven world and re-visit my priorities. To be honest, nothing short of a softball to the head could’ve slowed me down so this accident may have been a blessing in disguise. I’m lucky to have a chance to pause and reflect on how my goals and priorities have changed over the last few years.
The flip side of this time off is that it isn’t a vacation. That list of things I’d do if “I only had the time” isn’t getting shorter. Cars, trains, and planes aggravate my symptoms so travelling is out. My computer time is limited so writing a book isn’t an option (although I do love writing blog posts). That’s not to say I’m doing nothing. I’ve cleaned out the kitchen cupboards. I’ve reorganized my closet. I’ve tried new recipes. But most importantly, I’m healing.
Before the accident I used time as an excuse. I skipped the gym because I didn’t have enough time for a good work out. I grabbed unhealthy food on the go because I didn’t have time to grocery shop and prepare my own meals. Heck, I even skipped annual physicals because I didn’t have time for a doctor’s appointment.
I didn’t take the time to treat myself with respect. I filled my days with excuses and put other people’s priorities before my mental, emotional, and physical well-being. I fooled myself into thinking I didn’t have time for me, but I know I wasted at least 30 minutes each day. Was it absolutely necessary for me to give up my lunch hour to get in that extra bit of work? Was it imperative I beat that next level of Lego Indiana Jones on my DS? Did I really need to re-watch that episode of The Simpsons for the eighth time?
I’m giving myself 30 minutes of guilt-free “me time” every day. This isn’t a huge challenge while on sick leave, but it’s something that I need to start now so that it’s a habit when I re-enter the workforce. I will make myself and my health a priority.
Today my “me time” will be a 30-minute walk to my favourite tea shop.
SOTS wonders… how will you find 30 minutes today and what will you use your “me time” for?