Enjoying Sickness???

“I reckon being ill as one of the great pleasures of life, provided one is not too ill and is not obliged to work till one is better.” ~Samuel Butler

I love this quote – I’ll explain why in a bit. I have been sick for the past few days. I hate being sick because it kills my productivity, and in turn, my happiness. Sure, the feeling isn’t pleasant – but that is the least of my worries. Not accomplishing anything at home or in the gym is what really worries me.

I recently posted an article about pushing yourself. In this article I talked about the benefits of pushing yourself and how it is required for you to grow. This does NOT apply to sickness. I have been pushing myself to go to the gym the last few days even though I feel terrible. The result? I feel even worse.

I love the quote above because it turns sickness into a good thing. Really? Being sick is a good thing? It might be the first time you’ve heard this, but sickness can be fun. Think about when you were a kid and got to skip school and eat pop-sickles all day. You had a blast! I can vividly remember how excited I was when I saw the thermometer hit 102 degrees. IT”S A FEVER! NO SCHOOL!

Why did this change? I think it’s because adults, like me, are obsessed with productivity. We quit enjoying simple pleasures in our mad dash to success – one of these being sickness. When you get sick it is a chance to pamper yourself and relax. Doing so will actually make you heal faster. Also, by the time you feel better you will be eager to start working again. This means more productivity in the long run.

It all goes back to the age-old wisdom: work hard, play hard. You have no motivation to work hard if you have nothing to look forward to. My most productive weeks happen when I’m looking forward to something fun that weekend. That’s how it should be. Go out of your way to schedule time with friends, a vacation, or that rock concert you’ve always wanted to go to. While it may feel like a guilty pleasure, it is actually making your life worth living – and encouraging you to keep working hard.


Jay is a fitness coach and blogger who believes fitness should be fun and simple. After all, cavemen were fit. Find out more at www.jaysfitnessblog.com

2 thoughts on “Enjoying Sickness???

  • April 28, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    I think we lose touch as adults with the rest during illness because so many jobs (especially in America) don’t care if you’re dying: they punish you for calling out sick, and they punish you for coming in sick, but they punish you for not being as productive while you’re sick even if you sacrificed everything in order to come in anyway.

    It’s a lose-lose-lose situation, and when the threat of our livelihood is what’s at stake, then we don’t take the time to pamper ourselves when we’re sick. We don’t have the time or the luxury! We have to earn a paycheck; we have to avoid being fired; we have kids to take care of; we have way too many other things to worry about to have time to take care of ourselves.

    This, I think, reflects a sickness in our culture that we can’t even take care of ourselves when we need to.


    • April 29, 2011 at 9:14 am

      Delena, I think you’re right about American culture – we have become so productivity obsessed that we neglect our physiological needs. And it’s not just sickness. “Good employees” are expected to get little sleep and have little time to eat because they are working so hard. If you look at a lot of European countries you’ll see a healthier, more balanced work-life schedule. They get more paid vacation days and are given more time off after having a baby. Does their productivity suffer? NO! They are happier, healthier people and are more productive as a result. If America doesn’t watch out it is going to work itself to death. The good news – I think the times are changing and people are starting to notice what you are talking about. Hopefully we’ll see a return to balance over the next decade.


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