Around one year ago, I had a ski accident and suffered from concussion. I was on sabbatical at that time ⛷️. At first, I didn't notice full-on effect. Now I am back to full academic life of teaching, admin and research. I struggle with being fatigued all the time and sensory meltdowns. Any one been in the same boat? I was advised by my doctor to reduce workload but feel overwhelmed with how to identify things that could be ditched or delegated. How does one even start?

I am employed in New Zealand, and entitled to sick leave. My institution has health support for students, but I'm not sure what support is offered for staff.

  • Where are you located? Does your institution have a medical officer? Are you entitled to sick pay? Will your GP write you a sick note until you have taken care of these things?
    – henning
    Oct 7, 2021 at 7:36
  • I am located in New Zealand. I had concussion a year ago but still struggling with post-concussion syndrom. Our university has support for students, all sorts of support but I am not aware what support is actually available for me as staff. I am not sure if I take sick leave, say, for 5 days and return to full time work, I will be totally fine.
    – Math_manul
    Oct 7, 2021 at 8:36
  • I didn't mean to suggest five days of leave will suffice for recovery. But three weeks of leave will help to sort things out (i.e. find out what tasks you can off-load and how) and recover a bit.
    – henning
    Oct 7, 2021 at 8:40
  • I thought about taking time off after semester is over which is in 2 weeks time. I think it's a good idea. Hopefully, I can last for 2 more weeks. I wrote 5 days as it's a standard paid sick leave in New Zealand. However, university is very generous with the sick leave.
    – Math_manul
    Oct 7, 2021 at 8:45
  • 1
    if you can't last two weeks, take them off. The world keeps turning without you for another two weeks, and putting off your recovery will only prolong what's inevitable.
    – henning
    Oct 7, 2021 at 8:49

1 Answer 1


Look for help within your department/institute.

You state that you are struggling with fatigue and sensory meltdown. That means that you are probably also not in the best place to make these kind of decisions, since you also feel overwhelmed by this decision you need to make. Don't try to do this by yourself.

Talk to your department head, ask what resources are available. In my country (Netherlands) we have a company doctor that can help you identify the problems and make sure your workload is adjusted to what you can handle. Maybe there is another resource that can help you, maybe there are people in your department that can take over some tasks. Ask for help from your colleagues in handling this.

  • Thank you so much Jeroen. I did talk to one colleague but I don't think they were able to understand that the task of identifying things that could be ditched is daunting by itself. I will try other colleagues.
    – Math_manul
    Oct 7, 2021 at 7:30
  • 1
    @Math_manul I would suggest asking your higher-ups specifically. Ask them about resources, or contact your HR department about this. They should be able to point you to resources you need.
    – Jeroen
    Oct 7, 2021 at 8:37
  • Thank you Jeroen!
    – Math_manul
    Oct 7, 2021 at 8:49

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