Image by hitthatswitch via FlickrWhile our employers do give us sick days for a reason, it goes without saying that people who use less of their sick days get rewarded. Sometimes it is with monetary pay (you can sometimes collect on your unused sick days by adding them to your vacation time or by receiving a money amount at the end of the year) and sometimes it is less tangible. It may be that if you use less sick days you are more likely to be considered for a promotion. You may get first choice of the new desks that have come in. There are many less obvious ways that using less sick days can be rewarding.
So, how can you ensure that you use less sick days? It’s not by coming in to work whenever you are sick (Pandemic flu anyone?). Instead it is by taking care of your physical and emotional health.
First, let’s consider physical health. There are three things you can do to make sure you are healthy. Get enough sleep, eat properly, and exercise. Studies have found that people who ride their bikes to work or walk to work are healthier overall and yes, take less sick days. Getting enough exercise boosts your immune system and helps you feel better emotionally as well. Eating properly gives you more energy and your body will have the strength it needs to fight off minor illnesses. And sleep? There have been more studies that you can imagine about sleep and the end result is that sleep affects all facets of you life, including your physical health. So, get enough sleep at night (6-9 hours is the norm but it depends on the individual), find time to exercise at least 3 times a week, and eat mostly healthy food.
Second, you need to take care of your emotional health as well. Overall happiness with your life is related to your general health. Make sure that you do things you love in your non-work time. Go biking, read good books, take long baths, paint your toenails – do things that genuinely make you smile. Surround yourself with people that make you feel good. If there are people in your life that make you feel bad because of their negative attitude then talk to them about it or slowly phase them out so that they have less influence on your emotional health. Finally, find happiness in your job (and if you absolutely can not it might be time to start looking for another job!). If you’re genuinely happy with your job you’re less likely to get physically sick, believe it or not!
So, if you want to be healthier and have less need to take sick days, take care of yourself both emotionally and physically. Having the need for less sick days is just one of the things that may be holding you up from that promotion!