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Self Care is more than a Hot Topic


I used to think that being dedicated to one’s career was a good thing. Later, I discovered a different truth. The truth is that there is a fine line between being dedicated and hard working and pouring one’s whole self into a career. I have discovered that it is easy to get lost in work. Work becomes life and that is dangerous. My dedication as an educator prevented me from taking time off. Or when I did, I used to feel guilty about it.


So many people that I talk to feel the same way. I hear comments like, “ I’m too busy to take a day off.” or “I really wish I could take a vacation, but I’m worried about___.” And there are those that give off the impression that they are unaffected by these events or the busyness and stress of living in the USA. In my opinion, they are in denial and nothing good can come of being in denial about your mental health.


YOU OWE IT TO YOURSELF TO TAKE TIME OFF. With the events of 2020 that have spilled over into 2021, all of us have been triggered or traumatized in some way and if we don’t care for ourselves, it’s only a matter of time before this poison affects our relationships, our health, our career, our families, etc.



Spoiler Alert: I’m getting ready to reveal how to take extended time off for self care and still get paid.



Disclaimer:


I don’t want to be the one to give you false hope, so the first thing that you should know is that I am giving you information for the state of California.


This information that I am sharing is based on my personal experiences with this process. I am no expert and do not work for the Employment Development Department, EDD


or a disability doctor’s office.


Step One:

You’ll want to check your pay stubs and identify this category :CA SDI. If it has an amount next to it, then you have paid into CA state disability and qualify for the next step.


Step Two:

Call a disability doctor in your area and schedule an appointment as a new client. They will evaluate you and ask some questions. Don’t worry, you will get time off. No one is going to tell you that you are not stressed. They will help you set up your account on the EDD state disability website and most likely your time will start the day they evaluate you. Your family doctor can help as well, but the most they will give you is a couple of weeks to a month off. A disability doctor specializes in stress and mental health.



FAQs


What will my boss think frown on what I have done?


Communication with a supervisor who has your best interest in mind is a rare find, at least in my experience. Our capitalistic society pushes management and corporate leadership to be demanding and cutthroat, at times. Generally speaking when you are considering a stress leave it is prompted by a sense of urgency. Don’t ignore the urgency.


When the disability doctor grants your leave, the doctor’s office will communicate with your HR department. You can ask for a doctor’s note and they will send it to you to forward to your HR contact. Your boss cannot contact you during your leave. It is illegal for them to do so. Your recovery time will be respected.


What do I do about my job? Will it be protected?

Your HR rep should inform you of FMLA, of the Family Medical Leave Act. Under this act, your job is protected for 90 days. Your HR rep will send paperwork to you and you will have to sign or agree to the terms.


Can I afford to stay off as long as I need?

Once your claim is processed you can check your EDD account and you will see how much money is in your account. You will not receive 100% of your income. Most likely, you will be awarded 70% of your income. They assess your earnings in particular quarters and award you money based on your highest earnings. You may have to make subtle changes to your lifestyle, but you can make it work. It is highly probable that you can be off for up to a year. I would recommend taking at least one month off and check in with yourself and be honest with your doctor about your recovery and keep extending your time off, if you are not mentally ready to return to work.



In Summary:


You can take extended time off from work due to stress and receive an income. Your boss and place of work must comply. Doctor’s notes are best to send to your HR department to remain in good standing at your job. Self care is not just a hot topic. It is essential that you explore your own mental health and heed the warning of self care before it’s too late. I know of someone my age ( 40’s) that had a stroke. I believe this person was off balance just as I was. This person’s story, although unfortunate, gave me confirmation that my self care journey was valid and necessary. I could’ve been the person that had the stroke.



In Conclusion:


Use the time off to heal, plan your next steps, and take back your life. Getting grounded again will be a breath of fresh air. The objective is to find peace and gain clarity. Use the time wisely. You might decide not to return to your job or to start a new career or move out of the country. Don’t be afraid to take risks and try new things.



Self Care Challenge:

Take a day off: Call in sick, plan for a PTO day in spite of all of your tasks and duties at work, they’ll be waiting when you get back.



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