An okay day, but not feeling great. How do you decide when to push and when to give yourself a break?

Dr Gary
By Dr GaryCA Latest Reply 2015-06-27 13:45:47 -0500
Started 2015-06-21 14:34:38 -0500

When you’re living with a chronic condition, you may have days when you are feeling totally on top what it takes to do your best work. You may have days when you aren’t up to even trying. But you may have days when you’re not quite feeling it, but aren’t feeling bad enough to stay home.

And those are the days I’m talking about here. When you feel like you can basically do what you need to do to get through the day and be productive. And after all, that’s who you are. You’re committed to your job and you don’t want to leave your team short a person if at all possible.

Practically speaking, these may also be days when you don’t want to use up your sick time and don’t want to risk either losing a day’s pay or giving your boss something else to complain about.

You might call these “semi-bad days.” And you want – or just plain need – to push yourself to get to work.

Or to perform at your best in other areas of your life.

You may not love that statement, especially if those words have been directed towards you. And you may not like the idea of faking it at work, even on a day when you’re not at your best.

I posted an article on this topic a couple of weeks ago. Here’s a link:

So what does it mean to “fake it ‘til you make” on a day when you feel not great but good enough to go to work? Or to keep another commitment? It means putting your best foot – and face – forward to do as good a job as possible on day when, in a perfect world, you would rather have stayed home.

So, what about you! Do you have days when you aren’t quite at your best? Ever feel like you’re faking it to get through the day?

How you do you decide when to give yourself a push and when to take it easy?

48 replies

lettie d
lettie d 2015-06-24 18:36:41 -0500 Report

Yes, most of my days I'm pushing it. I'm really a faker when it comes too how I feel. Glad to know,I'm not alone.

Pegsy 2015-06-23 22:28:24 -0500 Report

Interesting timing of this question for me. Yesterday morning I woke up feeling down and unmotivated. I was irritable all day. This doesn't happen often, thankfully. I really had to push through the entire day. It was rough. I had to fake it at work. I went to bed early last night. I woke up this morning feeling good and had a great day. Work was busier than usual and pretty hectic but I actually enjoyed it. Tomorrow is my day off. I plan to take it easy. I will start my day with a long and relaxing walk. I may have lunch with a friend. I plan to catch up on some reading and maybe watch a movie. I'll tinker in the yard and around the house. I might even take a nap. Hopefully the rest of my week will be boosted by the relaxing break.

I do find that since being diagnosed as diabetic and being on Metformin, my moods and energy levels are affected. Often without warning. I can sleep soundly but still wake up feeling sluggish and grouchy. My glucose can run high for no reason at all. I am learning to just accept that and relax. Tomorrow is another day. Don't stress about it. Do what I can when I can and don't worry about the rest. Just live.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2015-06-27 13:44:53 -0500 Report

Hey Pegsy! Wow, that sounds like a perfect day off you planned for yourself. I find that if I take breaks like that, I am that much more ready for the days that follow. Refreshed! And that is a very good attitude, accepting that some days are going to be better than others, and going with the flow. We only have but so much control over what happens in life. Acceptance makes life that much less stressful. Hope you enjoyed your day off!

Jibber Jabber
Jibber Jabber 2015-06-23 22:14:10 -0500 Report

I have always pushed myself…looong before I had diabetes…I had a bad back…I threw it out so bad I had to take car service back and forth to the office for a solid week…because I couldn't stand on a subway during rush hour without crying…I "got it done"…and I am like that with everything..They're times I don't feel like doing something…but I do it anyway…to me…once you start making excuses you go down a slippery slope…If there was no way for me to make it in…I wouldn't have a choice…I would take the day off…but if there is a way to drag my butt in…I will drag it in…till this day my lower back just does…all the time…even with the weight loss…and I have a bad right knee..even when I am feeling "good" and all "skippy"…I still have pain in my lower back…but it is so much a part of my regular life I am just use to it…my doctor told me I would get disability easy..and he couldn't understand how I could function on a daily basis my xrays were so bad…I told him as long as I can I will work…and do everything else I had to…I guess I just work my way through the pain better than most..AND JUST IMAGINE trying to live on disability in NYC…I would of had a 12 room mobile home…a nice subway train…not bad unless you mind thousands of uninvited guest everyday…My Epsom salts are my best friend…

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2015-06-27 13:33:51 -0500 Report

Hi Jibber Jabber, nice to hear from you. I can understand that desire to keep pushing yourself, to not slow down even for a minute for fear you will totally slack off. I do a lot of that pushing myself. But I ask myself at times if I am pushing myself too hard and I think that, sometimes I am. I am working on being a little kinder to myself, taking time to smell the roses. I hope you aren't pushing yourself too hard. Balance is everything! And I understand your concerns about disability and living in the Big Apple. Thanks for checking in!

robertoj 2015-06-22 18:29:26 -0500 Report

When I'm not feeling great I will either feel better or worse as the day goes on. I feel that there is little chance that physically I won't reach much beyond good. After awhile I'll get a clue and rest if needed. If not I'll meditate, read something inspirational or watch movies. I'll call my mom if I have two or three hours to invest.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2015-06-23 22:19:26 -0500 Report

Hi Roberto! Good to see you! Sounds like you are really in tune with your body, you know how to listen to what it has to tell you, and you know how to respond, to rest, to take the best care of yourself. Wow, those are some long conversations!

MaxieFo 2015-06-22 17:56:41 -0500 Report

I am retired but I have a problem with not taking a break even when I know that I am really not up to doing things in my garden or around the house. My attitude is, I know that once I get started I will be fine. Most of the time that works out well for me and it makes me glad that I push myself. However there are times that I push myself to the point that I cannot go up or down my stairs without help.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2015-06-23 22:14:23 -0500 Report

Hey MaxieFo, it's been awhile. Nice to see you. Good point you make here. Those little pushes can be a good thing to keep us moving, but it's also important to be aware of those times when we may be pushing ourselves too hard, and make sure we do what we can to avoid that. Take care of yourself!

sandyfrazzini 2015-06-22 11:26:11 -0500 Report

Hi Dr. Gary,
I guess you could say that today is one of those days for me, actually the last week and a half. I have been taking medication for depression and my Doctor has been weaning me off of them, which I was okay with. The side effects from coming off of them however, is something that I was not prepared for. I have been a little dizzy and lets just say I have been having flu-like symptoms and lots of things have been making me cry. I have been feeling a little better here and there but not great. I would really liked to have stayed home today. Just feeling a little dizzy and no energy really. I would have just slept most of the day away as I did the weekend.

I work at a VA Hospital, and I love helping the veterans. I am always a positive and friendly, helpful voice on the phone to everyone that calls and whenever possible I go the extra mile to help as many Veterans and their families as I can.
I understand that a lot of these patients are so much worse off than I am, and they have to travel so far just to get an appointment. So I smile and laugh and do as much as I can to help as many of them as I can, after all look at what they have done for us. I am so grateful for their service.

My current supervisor does not believe in being sick, or down, or crying, in fact she has a fit if we take the time off to go to see our doctors. I try not to let her get to me, she has taken a new position in another department and will no longer affect us. My blood sugars were over 500 a few days in a row 3 weeks ago, she didn't think I should take time off, that I would be just fine.

I guess I use all of the little energy that I do have while I am at work, I will go home and lay on the bed and watch the Tigers play ball and most likely fall asleep before the 4th inning. I will be seeing my Doctor in July, maybe I should see my primary care doctor too.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2015-06-23 22:13:00 -0500 Report

HI Sandy, it is really nice to see you. Wow, I am sorry you going through so much right now. Tapering down from antidepressants can be a difficult process, I have been told. I hope you are working closely with your doctor and letting him/her know how you're feeling. I suspect you are. Sounds like a real rough patch for you, and I hope this is all behind you soon. Hang in there, my friend. That is such worthwhile work you are doing, and I am sure you are touch many people with your great attitude. I would guess that your own challenges have made you that much more sensitive to what the people you talk with over the phone are dealing with. Sorry to hear you aren't getting so much support from your supervisor. I hope the new one is more in tune with how employees are feeling. Glad to hear you have a doctor's appointment. A good idea to get a checkup. Thanks for checking in with us. Please keep us posted!

camerashy 2015-06-22 10:30:59 -0500 Report

Fortunately, when I was working I worked for a family in a good-sized machine shop. When I felt like this, I'd tell them how I felt, and that I might need a little push now and then. They understood, because after all, we all have days like that, and believe it or not, they were diabetic too !

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2015-06-23 22:03:27 -0500 Report

Hey camerashy, that is pretty interesting. They must have understood what you were going through on those days, since they were living with diabetes, too. A blessing to work with supportive people.

Jan8 2015-06-22 08:47:14 -0500 Report

I decided it to go for disability. I got it. It was just too exhausting to fake it till I make it. I did it for too many years and kept getting new autoimmune diseases. Was not worth faking it.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2015-06-23 22:00:41 -0500 Report

Hi Jan, glad to hear you were able to get disability. You're right, when it becomes too hard to fake it, it's time to reach out for help. Good to see you.

Grandmama16 2015-06-22 04:49:16 -0500 Report

Not feeling well is most of the time. I fake a normal existence most of the time. This allstarted and continues with depression despite a multitude of meds whichhas culminating in Cymbalta which may have caused the rise in blood sugar and Dx of diabetes in 2013 and starting Metformin, 2000 mgs now. I also have Fibromyalgia, Gerd, and take meds for blood pressure, gabapentine for numbness and tingling in my hands which is Carpal tunnel. It has also helped with itching mostly on feet and ankles with no rash. I haven't had to use the Pres cream as much for it. I take Xanax if I don't take 1/2 Ambien for sleep. Yet I take 1/2 Nuvgil for sleepiness during the day. I know others have so much more to deal with…an over 80 neighbor friend who just had surgery for colon cancer, a friend whso's MS is increasing and her husband is dying of 2 kinds of cancer. I'm so sick of cancer…our daughter died of Br cancer at 41 in 2006 leaving husband and 3 girls. Now my husband has Parkinson's. He's 72 and I'm 71. My mom was very active at this age. Walked a lot. Even walking our little dog is hard. I get off balance. She beat 2 cancers with surgery and radiation while living alone just with her little dog. I stayed with her a month during the 2nd and couldn't wait to get home. We lived 800 mi apart but was here for the last couple of years of her life. I feel ashamed that I can't deal with life as well as she did, having lost my sis, heart, and bro.,cancer in their 50's. She died of a brain bleed…due to meds I think…at 89. I do what I need to do to get thru the day but don't really want to, even with family tho I love and need them. I just feel so boring. My blood sugars were 150 to 200's all day from eating with part of the family. I usually only test AM and PM but I've been wondering how it is during the day but haven't remembered to test before I eat as was suggested on this site or another. Husband and I exercise at his Parkinson's therapy twice a week but that's not enough. Bye for now.M.A.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2015-06-23 21:59:34 -0500 Report

Hi Grandmama, it's good to see you. Thanks for letting us know what's going on with you, and how your days are going. I am sad to read that you have so much loss, just so sad to hear about your daughter. It sounds like you have really been there for the people in your life who have needed you. That's says a lot about the wonderful person you are. I hope you are getting lots of support. Take good care of yourself, my friend. And please stay in touch with us!

denipink57 2015-06-22 04:28:00 -0500 Report

i dont have to go to work because i am on disability. my time is my own but i dont always feel like moving forward with my day. i spend time with my groups online which are important to me just as this group is. i dont always feel up to posting tho. when i am feeling run down i sleep. i take daily naps and sometimes i need them just to get thru the day.

i also have a walking program with extreme arthritis thru out my body i cant always get out. those are days when i just plop myself in front of the TV and take it easy.

i also have days when i am raring to go and i get a lot done. i love those days.

basically i just listen to my body and when i need to rest i do and when i feel up to being more active then i give it my best.

i am very fortunate to have disability because then my only commitment is to myself and i make the best of it.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2015-06-23 21:54:47 -0500 Report

Hey Denise, I agree, it's a good thing to have disability available to you when you need it. I know you do what you can to make the best of things, and that you have a lot on your plate. You have a really great attitude, with a plan in place, but also resting when you need to. Thanks for sharing this.

jayabee52 2015-06-22 00:08:48 -0500 Report

Howdy Dr Gary
I am disabled and don't have to go in to work.

The one thing I have to do on a regular basis is to go to dialysis treatments. If I don't go the results would be disastrous for me. I would quickly feel the effects of my kidney failure poisoning my body. Lethargy, when I eat, nausea, when I have to exert myself a little, like walking .25 miles I get back and have to sleep for a couple of hours.

So I go. But then again, when I get there and the needles get inserted (probably the most unpleasant thing about dialysis) all I need do is sit there for 4 hrs and watch TV. When the needles are withdrawn I go home and sit in my easy chair and sleep for a while. So it is not all that bad.

Thanks for a good discussion


Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2015-06-23 21:47:45 -0500 Report

Hey James, I suspect that maintaining your health, especially with dialysis, is a pretty big job in itself. Glad to hear you are staying on top of this, and giving yourself the rest you need. Always nice to see you!

haoleboy 2015-06-21 23:16:33 -0500 Report

IF there is a good thing about being disabled (and there isn't) it would be that the only thing I have to do all day long is to work on "getting better" (that and being an internet wise-ass)
considering the alternatives … my good days are fantastic and my bad days are great (yes, I also fake it 'til I make it)


Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2015-06-23 21:45:26 -0500 Report

Hey Steve! That is a very good attitude. Glad to see you are using that time to work on yourself. And always happy you are spending time on the Internet -- we all benefit from your wisdom! :)

Unicorn_Lady 2015-06-21 22:07:36 -0500 Report

fake it till you make it has always been my philosophy. Smiling, even fake, for whatever reason, seems to kick my endorphins. Maybe it is a muscle memory thing, who knows. I rarely indulge my poor moods. However, if I am feeling poorly I do not like to be around others.

If I am feeling poorly, I will do small things, like sit on the deck and watch the world go by and try to NOTICE the little things. Noticing the wind in the trees, on the grass, the birds, the sounds. I literally try to not think, just notice. Seems to improve my mood. Another thing I do is make a ritual, out of tea. I will get out one of my many tea pots and make a pot of tea. Drink out of one of my pretty tea cups. Maybe get a book of poetry or quotes, or just a love story and read while I enjoy my tea. Sometimes, I listen to music and sing at the top of my lungs. [grin] Perhaps, it is best I am alone then. :)

If I have to work and don't feel well, I tend to do organizational things. It seems with giving attention to details - it takes me out of the …me, me, me, frame of mind and the pains fade away.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2015-06-23 21:42:30 -0500 Report

Unicorn_Lady, that's a very good point. Smiling does increase endorphins, which can result in an overall sense of well-being. Smiling is healthy! And I like that mindfulness exercise you described. There is so much in the world that we overlook, as you described so well. Your tea ritual is another good way to provide a moment of pleasure and relaxation. These little rituals provide stability to our lives, and give us a sense of well-being. And that organizing at work, another good mindfulness exercise. Some great ideas here!

valentine lady
valentine lady 2015-06-21 21:32:36 -0500 Report

HI Dr. Gary,
Well you sure picked a topic this time didn't you !?!?!? Dr. Gary to tell you the truth I rarely have days as you described. Yes, I get them but as I said their far and few between. I let the past go long ago.and today seems bright and sunny. But when I do have a day like you described, a day when I don't want to face another day. I force myself, period…I don't like it and I don't want it but I've learned to force myself up. To face another day with diabetes. Well, I look at it this way. I certainly didn't choose it but since I have it why allow it to overwhelm me. It is a huge part of me, I accept that. I controlled my diabetes, it doesn't controlled me.most days are bright for me. It is what I choose.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2015-06-23 21:36:42 -0500 Report

Hey valentine lady, nice to see you! Glad to hear you don't have many of those days. That's great. That little push -- when you're not pushing yourself too hard -- can help you to make the best of things. That's life on life's terms. I like that, control diabetes, don't let it control you. Empowerment! Thanks for sharing this.

camerashy 2015-06-22 10:37:26 -0500 Report

I'm also one of those who doesn't let diabetes run my life. I still have to check my glucose reading every time I feel like I want to eat something, but I do what I want or need to do around the house. Or the yard. I planted 9 bushes yesterday. Yay, me! Love ya, lady.

valentine lady
valentine lady 2015-06-23 03:59:42 -0500 Report

Hi camerashy,
YOU GO GIRL…I'm very proud of you.
We can't let diabetes win. It's bad enough we have this disease but we can't let it rule our lives. Where iit's true we all have.ick days, there too with a little push we can live a full, productive day. WITH A SMILE ON OUR FACE…here's hoping all 9 of your
Bushes thrive. May God Bless…Peggy

RebDee 2015-06-21 22:42:09 -0500 Report

I have Diabetes Type 2, and it is genetic. My sister also has a genetic disease, Multiple Sclerosis, but we have no idea where it came from. While I hate that she is so ill, I thank God every day that I don't have what she has. I believe that I can cope with my Diabetes but I know that I cannot cope with her MS as she is now stuck in a wheelchair as she cannot walk, can't go anywhere without assistance, can't even go to the lower level of her own home. In other words, if I have to have a disease, I am glad it is Diabetes as I can cope with it.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2015-06-23 21:25:34 -0500 Report

Hi RebDee, nice to see you! Sorry to hear that your sister has MS. Life can just be so random, right? She is dealing with so much. Whatever each of us facing in life, there are always others who have even more challenges. My heart goes out to your sister. I know it must be hard for you to see her with so many limitations.

sweetslover 2015-06-21 20:31:39 -0500 Report

I am tired of having the "not so good days." I am retired, but I don't want to just sit around when I don't feel well. There are days when my diabetic complications just seem to "throw me for a loop." I just want them to go away—they are interfering with my quality of life, and I just won't stand for that. Don't know what I am going to do, but I am confident that I can do something.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2015-06-23 21:22:40 -0500 Report

Hi sweetslover, I like your empowered attitude! But I'm sorry to hear about those days that are throwing you for a loop. I suspect you have already thought about this, but just wondered if you had talked to your doctor about this and checked to see if you can do some adjusting of your diabetic self-care plan. Hang in there, my friend, and keep us posted on how you're doing.

sweetslover 2015-06-24 13:46:26 -0500 Report

Hey, Dr. Gary. Unfortunately, my doctor does not seem to know a lot about diabetic complications. I have asked him a couple of questions about blisters on my fingers and arms and he just wondered if I got into something abrasive. He has done this about of couple of issues I know are diabetic related. I learn more on the internet and from diabetic connect. My doctors seems to think that if I am controlling my BG, then everything else is OK.

camerashy 2015-06-22 10:40:52 -0500 Report

I've found that if I can just force myself to get up and "do it", it actually makes me feel better. Of course, after I "do it" I have to sit down a while and usually accidentally take a nap. Today I need to get after this kitchen - it's a disaster zone ! I don't wanna, but I'm gonna.

debcox 2015-06-21 19:34:25 -0500 Report

Actually, I'm blessed that I rarely have a day like this. I am retired from my career but I watch my grandsons daily (M-F) and it is easy to be in a good mood around them. I had a not so good day around August of 2005. I woke up and felt 50 (a month before I actually turned 50) for about 3 hours. I called into work and stayed home for the day. I felt better after I called in so I went out to lunch. I was not worried about my job as I retired 4 weeks later and was already in pre-retirement mode.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2015-06-23 20:00:08 -0500 Report

Hey debcox, sounds like you have an ideal job, with lots of joy! Sometimes we just aren't in the space to fake it, and that means taking the day off. Often, I think that taking one day to rest prevents having to take a few days because of illness. Thanks for checking in.

GabbyPA 2015-06-21 18:03:52 -0500 Report

My "pollyanna" personality really can make me do a lot of fake it til you make it in many situations. So, if I get to a point where I cannot take it, or push any more. I usually do go ahead and have what I call a lazy day. Fortunately, I don't like taking those. The loss of productivity really sits poorly with me. Which is good, as it limits my lazy day to one day usually. If it goes longer than that, I have to look a little deeper and see what is going on.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2015-06-23 19:58:06 -0500 Report

Gabby, I like that term, Polyanna personality. I know that I know that feeling of "I can push myself to the limit and it will all be better." Those lazy days, AKA mental health days, can be just what you need to get recharged. Great idea!

Kalisiin 2015-06-21 15:59:17 -0500 Report

As I own my own business…I get to work when I want…and not work when I don't want. As long as the clients' deadlines are met they could care less WHEN I do the work. so a lot of the time, I find myself working odd hours, overnights, weekends…but my situation is not what most people have.

What I am having a problem with right now is that my cousin is here from out of town, and so I am having things I would not normally have. I am trying to make up for it with extra exercise, and trying to mostly limit myself, even though my limits are a little higher right now than they would normally be.

For the first time in four weeks, today I will go over my daily calorie limit, but my carbs will still be under. I had a VERY LARGE LUNCH today, and as a result will be having only some sugar-free pudding for dinner, and not much of that. So I'll end up with a long fast before breakfast tomorrow.

I am doubling up my exercise for today to make up for this somewhat. This is far from normal for me, and I am glad I have been good a long time to allow for this small one-day indulgence. Tomorrow, I am going right back on the beam. I know I did not do good today. But tomorrow is a differnt day, and, if I am good 99 days out of 100 I am probably allright…fact is, we can't all just quit living.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2015-06-23 19:54:51 -0500 Report

Hi Kalisiin,

Nice to hear from you. I appreciate that you shared this with us.

Sounds like you have the idea job, one that works with you and your individual rhythm. And you have the ideal boss -- yourself! (As long as your boss doesn't push you too hard.)

I know what you mean about houseguests. We love them but they can sure push us off our healthy routine. I have been through the same thing.

But it sounds like you are on top of things and know what you need to do to get yourself back on track. Yes, tomorrow is another day. And it looks like you will be making the best of yours.

Take good care of yourself, my friend!


bellastar 2015-06-21 15:18:41 -0500 Report

I am just now feeling decent after being diagnosed seven months ago. So glad I recently retired.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2015-06-23 19:37:34 -0500 Report

Bellastar, that's great news. It must be nice to be away from the stresses and pressures of work. Nice to see you.

bellastar 2015-06-23 20:29:41 -0500 Report

Hey Dr. Gary
I need help! I've been trying to post on the app for weeks:(
Message says authentication not available when I try to log in on the app! Thanks!

jayabee52 2015-06-24 08:03:55 -0500 Report

Howdy Bella
Dr Gary is not involved with the Tech dept. Best to take your tech issues up with the tech dept through the "Feedback" link below.