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Am I too sick to work?


Ok just one sneeze, is that it or is it leading to a cold?

If it’s a cold can I work?

Is there a degree of cold that’s acceptable??

I need to earn!

It was so much simpler working in an office. If I woke up in the morning feeling all dosed up with a cold I had two choices; I could struggle through the day with paracetamol and warm drinks sitting at my desk with a box of tissues or if it was worse I could make one phone call to let work know I was too ill to go in and back into bed to recover. Simple.

Now being self employed it is a totally different experience.

OK this was just one sneeze and probably was a reaction to something rather than a cold but it did make me think how everyone copes when they are ill especially if they are self employed rather than working for a company.

In the past I have worked when I have felt a cold coming, I made sure to give my nose a good blow before starting the session and wash my hands. Sometimes I have told my clients before I start the session that I had to wash my hands and used this as an excuse to pop to the bathroom and blow my nose (and of course wash my hands again) to try my best to avoid sniffing. I always have lots of tissues in my room anyway and also antibacterial hand gel just incase.

This normally is ok for the one session but it is a fine line between what is ok and what is not. It is really hard to determine.

I did joke to a fellow therapist that I worry about sneezing on a client, and if they would notice if I just rubbed it in! – I would NEVER actually do this!!

Yes sneezing is natural after all and sometimes it happens without being ill, but best to keep it away from the client! Im sure you are the same and simply sneeze away from your client (NOT into you hands) I turn my back to my bed and aim to sneeze towards my shoulder tucking my head in to trap the sneeze as best I can without using my hands or letting it spread too much into the air.

If I was feeling unwell I have to think to myself, would I be happy lying down receiving a massage from me at the moment.

If the answer is no, then I contact all my clients for that day to inform them. If it is a heavy cold I do on occasion give them the option of a massage and risk a cold or delay until I feel 100% again. If it is an injury and they are in pain they may still want to receive treatment and take the risk but others are mainly happy to wait.

There is nothing worse than a lovely massage given by someone constantly sniffing. It ruins the whole experience.

If on the other hand it was something more like a sickness bug and need to rest, I always contact clients from today and tomorrow.
This is for two reasons, it is best to cancel clients with as much notice as possible so they have warning but also it gives me time to relax and go to bed without the pressure of thinking I have to be well enough tomorrow as I have clients. The body won’t repair as quick if I am stressed. Take the extra day in bed, feel better and return to work when you can is the best medicine. Sometimes struggling on through with an illness can make the bug last longer. Self-care is so important.

Better this than a client not wanting to book you again as the last massage was not as good as you can be. Remember a lot of people want a massage because they are under stress, if this is the case their immune system will already be low and more likely they will pick up any bug you may have!

I know it is still stressful as no work means no income!

That is why I have a saving account. Putting as much as I can each week – this is savings generally towards exciting things like taxes! and for holidays or spoiling myself but also it helps to have something to dip into if I am ill.

I am in a very lucky position that massage is not my only job so sometimes if I am too ill for massage I can usually still attend my other job or if I am too ill for that they give me sick pay.

The key is to plan for as much as you can,

Plan by saving so you have money if no income

Plan by letting clients know as early as possible

Plan rest for yourself.

Self-care is so important to being a therapist

Remember sickness is not a weakness it is life and happens to everyone, so admit your sick, get treatment and get well soon.

I’m off to take some vitamins, drink lots of water and eat well and hope I am not coming down with anything.


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Stay well, Love and Laughter.


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