You look at your watch, after what feels like a century has passed, and it is nine minutes later. You feel nauseous, lightheaded and you are sure you have a temperature. But staying at home just wasn’t an option today.
If you have ever had a job, you would have had the experience of having to go to work regardless of the fact that you are not feeling well. Whether your stomach is upset or not, or whether you have period pains or a vicious spider bite, you will have to do your presentation to the visiting delegation from the UK.
Tips on surviving the day
Take a relaxing bath in the morning. Feeling clean always improves one’s state of mind. If your illness is stress-related, a bath will also improve your circulation and make you feel better.
Tell your immediate superior that you are not feeling well. This is essential, in case you need to leave work early. If they know in advance, they will not be surprised. Also, it might encourage them to lessen your workload slightly for the day.
Make sure you have the right medication with you. There is nothing worse than being stuck at work with heartburn or a pounding headache and not being able to do anything about it.
Steer clear of coffee and junk food. They might make you feel worse than before. Fruit and Rooibos tea might have just the effect you hoped for.
Don’t tell everyone all the details. Don't spend the day telling everyone else the ongoing detailed symptoms of whatever ailment you have. They are mostly not interested, especially if there is nothing they can do about it. The question “How are you?” is not an invitation to a detailed update on your latest medical conditions.
Take a slow walk during lunch time. Often a bit of fresh air will do you the world of good. It will also get your circulation going, which is always good for you.
Stock up on the essentials.Make sure you always have painkillers, antacids, anti-diarrhoea tablets, tampons (if you are a woman), tissues and antihistamine tablets in your drawer at the office. There is nothing worse than having severe period pains or an allergy reaction or pounding headache at work and not being able to do anything about it.
Phone in an order to the pharmacy.Remember that there are chemists who deliver – even if you don’t have an account with them. Many of them do COD deliveries. You can also ask your doctor to fax through a repeat prescription to the appropriate chemist.
Simplify your day. If you are feeling nauseous, today is not the right day to deal with Gilmour’s dress code or Malan’s slacking performance. Postpone meetings or appointments that might be stressful.
Make an appointment to see your GP during your lunch hour. There is no point in getting as sick as a dog before you do this.
If you have something contagious, stay at home. The company would far rather give you the day off than have an entire department coming down with the latest flu.
You will know if you are too ill to go to work. Remember that sick leave is there for a reason and sometimes, by not staying in bed for one day and going to work, you might end up having to spend three days in bed to recover.
Get as much sleep as possible. There is nothing as regenerative and healing as a good night’s sleep.
(Susan Erasmus, Health24, updated August 2010)