I am having a very difficult time at the minute, with a combination of ill health and tough personal circumstances, and it's reached a point where it's become difficult to cope (though I feel embarrassed to admit that). I have already had to cancel lessons a few times and take a few days off, and people who care about me are encouraging me to consider taking a longer period of time off to recover. Obviously when you are self-employed, that's not easy to do! I know I am very blessed in that I could manage financially for a time if necessary, because I have family members who would make sure I'm ok, although I really don't like having to ask that of them. But in terms of the disruption to my students' learning, and potential damage to my business (if people leave because of the gap in lessons), there's not a lot I can do. I don't know any other teachers locally who could cover for me, and I feel bad for letting my students down. I have a number of students preparing for exams this term. So I'm currently going back and forth over what's best, and I'm not sure what to do.
Any advice would be appreciated. Has anyone ever taken a longer period (more than a week) of time off before? I have only done so once before, a number of years ago, due to sudden illness, and people were supportive but it did cause problems and I lost a few students who lost momentum during the break, and never picked up again. At the minute I feel like I want to carry on and I'm trying to guess whether I'll cope or not, and I just don't know. So I don't know whether to try and see, or to make the decision to take a break now. And if I did, I don't know how long is a reasonable break, or how to go about it. (Should I try to keep just my exam candidates going, or is that penalising students who don't take exams?) Etc. My GP I'm sure would sign me off work, but that's pretty meaningless! Although perhaps it would be a better way of telling my students/parents if I had that stated "officially"? I could also contact the ISM (of whom I'm a member), if it would be worth doing that?
I'm just feeling at a bit of a loss to know to do. I know the forum is usually pretty quiet at the weekend, but I hope someone is around who might be able to offer some advice. Thanks!