Lifestyle Blog from the Philippines

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Health vs Work

Late last month I was on sick leave for more than a week. On the weekend before that, I thought I just had a simple cough and cold situation but by the time Monday rolled in I was having difficulty breathing and had chest pains brought about by an extremely dry cough. I tried to tough it out and went to work for a couple of days but by the end of the week, I just couldn’t handle it anymore so I went on leave.  

I went to the doctor and had to use a nebulizer for a week. I had to breathe through the machine to take in the steamed medication every 8 hours. It was such a task to do but it did the job (along with several other medications that the doctor prescribed).  

Before my leave, my coworker told me to get some rest because I’ve been working hard at the office all the time. She told me that I needed a break and time to relax so that I can give my body time to fully recover.  It's easy to say but very hard for me to do.

I’m a bit of a workaholic. I tend to take my responsibilities at work too seriously to the point that I tend to take work home with me. In fact, even during my leave, I was working from home because I was worried about being swamped when I got back to work. I was answering emails, taking calls from the office, and other simple work tasks that I could do from bed. I know it sounds too much but I made sure to rest if I felt sick, tired, or weak. 

During my time at home, I was reminded of something my doctor told me: one of the reasons that I’ve often been feeling fatigued and that I get sick easily is because I am so stressed. He said I needed to take time to take care of myself and listen to my body when I am feeling something bad. I have a tendency of working a bit too hard and taking too much in than normal so it’s no surprise that I get stressed but as my doctor said, that same stress can take a toll on my body if I don’t do something about it. 

Yes, work is important because that’s my main source of income. It’s where I get my money for my day to day expenses and monthly bills. But how can I work if I’m not healthy? How can I stay healthy if I don’t make an effort to have a good balance between my health and work? 

Those thoughts made me take a step back during my leave. It made me weigh my options and decide that I had to make my health a priority over my job. I have to take care of myself first and foremost. A job is just that – a job. If you lose it, you can get a new one. My health – and my life, however, is a different story. What good is a promotion or any other incentive if you won’t be around to enjoy it right? I’ve seen the news items of people dying from overwork, I have no intention of becoming one of those people.

At my age, I’ve lived practically half of my life span already (give or take a few decades, I guess). Do I really want to spend the next half of my life just focused on work? I don’t think so. I think just like everything else, work has to be done in moderation. There just comes a point where something becomes too much and there is a need to take a few steps back.

I decided that this year, I will delegate more to the office. I will see my doctor when I feel something different as opposed to getting a check-up only when my work schedule allows me to. I will work on saying no so that I don’t take on too much work beyond what I can handle. I will make time to do things that I love and make me happy. I can’t keep thinking about work 24/7. 

I feel like I’m at that stage where I don’t want to keep up with the rat race where work is concerned. I’m content with where I am at the office. With the changes that will happen there soon, I don’t see the point of aiming for something that can change at any time. I think I’d rather keep my health and my sanity than be a successful/model employee. 

Life is too short. I need to make sure that I live it as happy and as healthy as I can. There’s no better time than right now so I’d better get to it. 

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