I don’t get sick. I don’t. Ok, I do. But rarely. And it’s only when my immune system has come under serious attack, i.e. I’m stressed because I’m behind on grading and planning, AND report cards are due, AND my classroom management is out the window, AND I have 3 million simultaneous meetings, AND I’ve got a bazillion friend & family functions to attend, AND I’ve lost sleep, AND I’m not eating well, AND. . .
But I don’t even remember the last time I got really sick. I think it may have been my 2nd year of teaching, 8 years ago. It was my first year in bilingual 4th grade, I had 30 students (8 of whom were behavior challenges, and 5 of whom were newcomers), and it was March. (March can be a rough time for teachers. It’s not as long as May, but the weather is still bad.) The time before that? Junior year of high school, in the middle of my first big musical: Godspell. Before that? 5th grade.
Sometime in middle school I decided I just wasn’t going to get sick. I actually made that promise to a family friend, and I kept it. I didn’t miss a single day of middle school for sickness. (I think I had to miss one or two days for eye appointments, and that devastated me because I missed the perfect attendance award.) And as I said, that doesn’t mean I have a perfectly healthy body all the time, but I do pretty well.
I think attitude is half the battle. Part of my attitude is not so great: I can’t afford to get sick. That could be a sign of overworking/being a workaholic. But the other half is: I’ve got a healthy body that is too strong to get sick.
Why do a lot of us get sick? I believe part of it’s subconscious. Have you ever had one of these thoughts? Oh, God, everyone in my office/family is sick; I’m next! or It’s that time of year again; I’m probably going to get sick or Geez, I’m so tired, and do I feel a little funny? Maybe I’m coming down with something!
We expect it, and it happens.
Also, sickness can be a rewarding experience. I’m not talking about the runny nose, the sore throat, the nausea, etc. being a great time. I mean the extra attention, the time off of work, the break you finally give yourself. Maybe you don’t have time or days to take off of work, but if you’re sick, you have to. Maybe you haven’t taken time for yourself; you haven’t allowed yourself to relax and do nothing. Now that you’re sick, you are expected to stay in bed, lie on the couch, and catch up on TV/favorite movies. And what about the extra caring and attention? It’s cold out, so you shouldn’t be walking the dog when you’re sick. You’re also probably too tired to do any housecleaning or go out and run any errands. Maybe your partner will even make meals for you/ bring you your tea/ bring you that remote 3 feet away? You get the idea. And even though this might all sound negative, you need these things, certainly more than you’re getting them. The key is to take care of yourself before you get sick, not after.
And though all of this is well and good, of course taking good care of one’s body is also important. Even though I miss sleep here and there and sometimes eat stupid things, I generally do pretty well. Thankfully, when I miss even a little sleep, I immediately get cranky to the point that I don’t even like being around myself, so that’s pretty good motivation to stay on track. I’ve also begun cutting back on refined grains and on meats, and I’m trying to eat more fruits, veggies, and legumes. Pretty much the only liquid I drink is water (except for the occasional beer or similar beverage), and I’m trying to remember to take my vitamins every day: multivitamins and Nutriferon (to boost the immune system). I also exercise at least 2-4 times a week, including yoga. And I try to monitor my energy and stay positive as much as possible.
I don’t know which part of all of that is most important, but I like to think it all is. Keeping your body healthy is a physical, mental, and spiritual process, and a goal worth working for.
So, remember, the next time people begin dropping like flies around you, have no fear, take care of your spirit, mind, and body and have confidence in yourself. Try saying this to yourself: They may be sick, but I’m feeling great!