How a Sick Day Made Me Get Serious About Building My Own Streams of Income
Reclaiming My Time
We all know the feeling.
The shear heaviness in your body like it had collided with a truck on several occasions the night prior. Sleep avoided you like it owed you money.
So you laid awake occasionally glancing at the clock while still hoping for just a little shut-eye.
It never, came. You and I both know this.
Once the time comes to finally get out of bed you’re faced with the million-dollar question of whether you should take a sick day.
Admittedly I’m no stranger to the universal occurrence either. As a sufferer of chronic un-diagnosed stomach issues, I’ve definitely had to decide between suffering at work or risking a ding on my attendance record. Especially when a flare decides to start a half hour before work.
Not to mention I’ve had unfortunate luck of being employed with companies who saw any absence, excused or unexcused, as an occurrence. Which meant a point towards termination.
I’m no stranger to acute issues either. A bout of bronchitis one late winter, left me out of work for a week . My chest felt as if I had just finishing running a marathon. But I had only walked a few feet to the bathroom.
My only saving grace was the timing. The first quarter was in session for only a few weeks, so that meant some newly available sick days to dip into.
But I only had a 6 days worth for the entire year. So I ended up cashing in on two days rather than the full five for the entire work week.
It became clear quickly that I really needed more time to recover. But I couldn’t afford it.
And my checking account surely felt that hit later on in the month.
I’ve also been in those situations where I had no sick days available.
So I know what its like being forced to choose between losing day(s) worth of wages, or suffering through the work day relying on OTC’s to get you through the day.
But more times than not, the need for money surpassed my body’s need for precious R&R.
Because the bills needed to be paid. And and “I had a bout of bronchitis for a week, so I’m short a few bucks.” Isn’t an option provided when I go to pay my bills online.
That’s the frustrating reality many people continue face to this day. Having to use sick days (if they have any),or take a day off without pay. All to give their bodies the rest and care it needs to heal.
Surely the extra stress adds nothing to aid in the healing process.
It goes without saying, having to go into work doesn’t help much in terms of recovering from an acute illness, let alone getting a chronic one back under control.
What about for when you’re not sick, and just need a well-deserved mental health day?
Call it a driving force if you will. But this was one of the main aspects that made me get serious about reclaiming my time.
Because it enabled me to recognize how important it was to use it the way I wanted to, sans fear of repercussions.
The Apprehension Towards Using Sick Days for Mental Health
Even when not sick, the 40 hour work week in and week out can leave us feeling exhausted on all fronts. And its not uncommon to need a mind clearing reboot to get you back on track.
However, my experience has been that many people were apprehensive about dipping into their sick days solely for a mental health day. And it was obvious why.
In my experience, I’ve noticed that efforts from companies to recognize and address the impact of work life balance on mental health weren’t always acted upon when the time comes.
When someone needed an off day without notice the relational aggression tactics broke off. Or times when notice was given far in advance, surprise, disappointment, and attempts at guilt tripping prior to that time off ensued.
Although more companies across the country are starting address the important factor of work life balance, some fall short on enforcing an environment that encourages rest and recovery.
For example benefits such as paid days off, if given, are lacking and don’t necessarily reflect prior claims trying to do better. Especially when small microaggressions are made in attempt to prevent those paid sick days or vacation days from being used.
Leading to many employees not taking such claims seriously along with not using their paid time off.
Which brings me to possibly one of the most important questions I had to ask myself that one morning, “Are you tired, yet?”
Yes, was definitely my answer.
I couldn’t see myself doing the 40 hour grind of shift work until retirement. Let’s face it, 40 years doing something you don’t want to do is a long time.
And one of those reasons was because I needed permission in order take some well needed time for myself in the event I was sick or needed a mental health day.
And the thought of asking permission to take time that I needed to nurse myself back to health made me cringe.
I wanted to be in charge of my own time rather than worry about not having enough energy to sell it another 8 hours a day.
I created Audacity to Strive to document my journey in finding better ways to optimize my time.
And of course, to rant and ramble here and there.
Who doesn’t appreciate a healthy, relatable rant every now and then?
As I started documenting my journey I realized how helpful and encouraging it could be for others first starting out. People like me who find themselves exploring the possibility of breaking free from the time clock.
Preferable before getting to the point of stress sickness and mental burnout from the corporate hamster wheel.
However, I feel the need to say something very important. Something that I soon found out after embarking on this journey.
Working for oneself does not always mean working less, especially when first starting out. I have learned from past experience how easy it is to overlook the sheer amount of conviction, dedication, and effort it requires.
Add on the responsibilities of juggling a full time job, and the scale may be just short of tipping. Especially once you recognize clearing the hump and earning a steady income on your own terms may take awhile.
However, the freedom that comes with having autonomy over your own time continues to prove itself well worth the effort.
Including the ability to take a hiatus for sickness or mental health purposes. Imagine not stressing about notifying your boss, or compliance towards attendance policies.
Oh how I longed for the day.
The Options Are Limitless
So, I encourage you to get started in brainstorming what ways you could build an income for yourself.
Whether it includes starting a blog, like this one.
Social Media influencing through Instagram
E-commerce through Amazon or drop shipping.
Maybe even starting your own small business online. Or, offering your expertise to others through online teaching or course creating platforms.
These are just a few options, as the sky truly is the limit. So stay tuned for future encouraging and inspiring content that can help you take that first step in making money for yourself online.