The ‘I can’t afford to be sick but I’m sick’ paradox

Untitled design (8)A little over a week ago on the Sunday I felt a little meh, Monday morning a little more meh and by Monday afternoon the projectile expulsion of everything from my body began and didn’t stop until Thursday. In the early hours of Friday morning Josh (my 13 year old) became poorly with a milder variant. It was like something out of the exorcist. With hindsight, I wonder if seeing an ill mother and business woman inspired the very first movie idea of a possession. I certainly felt like it was a distinct possibility, even the dog was afraid to come close!

Why am I telling you this? Because a huge learning curve as a business owner occurred during this time. My mission to keep it real on here (good, bad and ugly) means that I have to tell you.

Last week was a mess.

The school holidays, starting and building a new business, having an operation and being run down caught up with me and, as I just mentioned, I became unbelievably sick with some sort of gastro bug.

Eurgh.

This was the absolute LAST thing I had allowed time for and if I am being truthful, everything feels like it suffered for it.

Pardon my language but I was not only sick I was pissed off. Almost three months into being a self employed business owner I was under the complete delusion that I was getting a grip on the day to day running of my business. I thought that being poorly would be easy to manage if it happened. Not only that but I felt like a great mum too. After all it’s the summer holidays, I’m working from home and had arranged some fun stuff with Josh. Firstly he was having a sleepover with his bestie at ours, then he was going to go swimming and we were going to go to the cinema and have brunch. I felt like I totally had my shit together.

I felt in control.

Then I started throwing up like my body was turning inside out and I could barely stand. I was gutted. I had so much to do, just so so much I needed to get done. I, in my infinite blinkered state decided I was going to do it regardless, one way or another! In fact, I even did a zoom call with a client whilst laying on my side. Little did they know I had book-ended that meeting with violent vomiting.

It really came home to me in that moment that in this start up phase whilst I wear every hat both personally and professionally, if I don’t work I don’t earn. In the end I simply couldn’t cope being so sickly and therefore the hours that I usually traded for money were long gone and as a result I am going to be short by a weeks income this month. That’s not an easy pill to swallow especially for someone that thought that they were in control.

It was definitely a lessons learned scenario. I learned that self-care takes all forms, not just bubble baths and candles with the kids being looked after by nanny for an hour. It’s taking proper time to heal if you’ve hurt yourself (or in my case had an operation), it’s eating things filled with vitamins and minerals so your body can fight infection rather than useless fast food with little to no nutritional value.

I learned, it’s not always burning the candle at both ends so that you can wear every hat in your business but actually getting some decent sleep. That means delegating some of the things that can be delegated. If I had done that then being ‘woman down’ would not have meant that everything shuddered to a halt.

I learned that it’s asking for support when you feel a little overwhelmed. Whether that be with childcare/housework/business stuff or just someone like minded to share the weight of your dreams with.

I learned that if I am all things in this business and house, if I am down it all is. UNLESS I have a contingency plan in place.

The paradox of course is this. You may not be able to afford to be sick if you are in the same/similar situation as me but equally if you don’t allow yourself ‘small illness care’ you will in fact experience a greater level of illness overall.

It’s the difference between 1 day of rest and recuperation or a week of complete bed rest and total shut down.

In customer service when there was a situation that was never going to be fixed we used to call it ‘picking your bollocking’ You know you cant make it right, but you can make it hurt less.

So, what is learning if you don’t make changes?

My plan moving forward is to put things in place to allow for some down time – planned or otherwise. It will incorporate more family time and a physical switch off time if you will. It will be challenging myself to meal plan so that I know we are all getting nutritionally superior meals. It’s supplementing with vitamins if necessary to ensure our bodies have a fighting chance to stop illnesses in its tracks and to cope with the relaxation of say, a holiday.

It’s going to be taking 10 minutes away from the cleaning/working a little more often. It will be automating some of my processes and utilising some of the MASSIVE stockpile of graphics/blog post drafts etc. so that I can still be visible and that will make me worry less about dropping off the grid.

I also am intent on building a network of like minded business ladies so that we can support each other on this journey and to also find others with skills that I could call on in a business capacity myself as and when I have decided which things I can delegate.

Yep, ladies and gents as a business owner last week sucked, it’s not all big wins and satisfied customers. Sometimes its choosing between health and being the only hat wearer. After all, you can’t pour from an empty cup and if you are your business, you can’t be what you need without being fighting fit.

The brutal truth is that on Friday I wondered why on earth I was doing it all anyway, I wondered whether I was mad as everyone thought and pondered whether I should just go and get a normal job.

Luck would have it that a very delayed delivery arrived and I opened it to find my first clients first book, Working from home also allowed me to be with Josh myself whilst he was ill. That cannot be bad can it? and so I remembered, just because I made some mistakes, the difference will be the learning from them rather than running and hiding from them.

What have you learned from your unexpected days off/down time?

Don’t forget that liking, commenting and sharing this post helps small business, namely ‘The Amy Johnson’ stay in business and I thank you for your support.

Thank you for reading,

A x

 

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