The Quest for a Life Less Stressed

The Idle Life


Stay Home When You're Sick

Posted on June 16, 2009 by Beau

Are you one of those people that forces yourself to go into work when you’re miserable, either out of fear of getting in trouble with your boss or so you don’t have to use vacation time when you’re sick?

You might want to rethink that.

A new study shows that not staying home when you’re sick could backfire, making you more likely to have to take additional time off for illness later. Sometimes life just isn’t fair!

If you’re one of those people who stays home because you don’t want to waste your time off while sick, I understand. It’s certainly tempting to struggle through the day at work, being completely unproductive and exposing your coworkers to illness, instead of using the precious little time off we get here in America. I ask you, though, to remember the joy of taking sick days from school when you were young.

Unless you’re at death’s door, in which case you’d be taking the day off anyway, you can turn a sick day into an extremely pleasant day of idling. Chances are good that any significant others or kids will be off at work or school, leaving you with blissful solitude and independence. It’s the perfect time to catch up on all those idle activities you wish you had more time for, like sleeping in late, reading for a couple of hours uninterrupted (which rarely happens these days), or revisiting a favorite movie you haven’t watched in years. All in all, a day very well spent. The only real danger is that you’ll enjoy yourself so much you’ll decide to take another sick day, in which case I say go for it.

Update: Practicing What I Preach

By some strange coincidence, the morning after I came up with this topic idea and started writing, I got a bad cold and felt horrible. True to my word, I stayed home sick from work. In this instance, at least, I can’t be accused of hypocrisy! And yes, I followed my own advice and watched two movies I’d been meaning to watch for a long time, in addition to catching up on some reading. As I said earlier, a day well spent.

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