The Tissue Box Psychologist: What Does Your First Reaction to Getting Sick Say About You?

Tuire Tenkula

Tuire TenkulaBusiness Development Manager, Firstbeat

Corporate Wellness

sick at work

Cold and flu season are knocking on the door once again. Viruses and germs are spreading across the land. That means now is the perfect time to look deep and uncover what your reaction to falling under the weather says about you.

Well, pseudo-scientifically, at least – as this particular branch of analysis doesn’t come from a text book. It’s straight from the hip. We won’t let that hold us back though. Your throat is burning, your nose is running, and your head is ready to explode. Let’s diagnose your first reaction!

1. “YES! Can’t go into work today.” – This is a troublesome one. It may be a sign you are struggling at work. Everyone has times when they’d rather not buckle down, but if this is your first reaction to a sore throat and swollen glands, it might be time to look in the mirror.

Have you felt like this for a while? It might be time to seek out new challenges. Going into work burnt out and struggling to stay on point is a big-time productivity killer. Even worse, you are paying an emotional toll. The impact of your tiredness and frustration extends well beyond your time at work and can have a negative influence on other areas of life as well.

2. “Whew! Finally a chance to take a break.” – If coming down with a cold is the only time you allow yourself to take your nose off the grindstone, you may need to rethink your priorities. Again, drag yourself to the mirror and answer yourself honestly. Is this a temporary or a long-term issue? Is it just burn out, or are series of poor lifestyle choices coming home to roost? Are unreasonable expectations putting my health at risk?

If you are experiencing chronic fatigue as a result of your working environment, talk to your supervisor. Immediately. Part of your job is to communicate with your supervisor, making them aware of your situation. If enduring fatigue stems from non-work related aspects of your life, take the necessary steps to ensure adequate rest and recovery. Remember the secret to good sleep isn’t just sleeping longer, it’s about improving the restorative qualities of your sleep.

3. “HELLS BELLS! I can’t get sick now.” You’re the only one who can take the baby to the doctor’s office, wait for the plumber, and keep the band marching. Naturally, getting sick will take your life off track, and that’s annoying. If however interrupting your daily work feels like impending doom, stop and ask yourself, am I truly indispensable? Do I make the sun rise and set? Will things get done, even if I’m not doing them myself?

You may be facing some unreasonable expectations. Whether you’ve created them yourself, or others have helped place that burden on you, it might be time to look critically at how things are going. Do you really need to suffer? Are you able to organize your work differently, share your responsibilities better? Are you putting your co-workers at risk by exposing them to your illness?

4. “Oh dear! Well, there’s nothing I can do about it. I think there’s a few good shows on Netflix…” Nailed it. You’ve got a healthy attitude towards getting sick, at least according to this tissue box psychologist. Good work, now pass me a lozenge.

Here’s to rosy cheeks and runny noses all around!

Did you know that getting enough rest and recovery can improve your immunity to illness? Firstbeat Life can help you find the balance you need to stay healthy!

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Tuire Tenkula

Tuire Tenkula Business Development Manager, Firstbeat

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