Here’s a lesson that I’ve learned the hard way over the years. And I don’t want you to have to do the same! Listen to your body.
As a special needs mom, I got used to burning the candle at both ends. I didn’t know how to manage the stress of special needs parenting, my sobriety and practice self care.
I’m not a doctor, but I believe the years of cumulative stress played a big role in the development of the two major conditions I live with – cervical dystonia and ulcerative colitis (an autoimmune condition.)
Learning to Listen to Your Body
Your body will tell you when you need to slow down and when you need to stop everything and take a well deserved rest. Pushing past that point may work for a little while, but the longer you ignore these alarm signals from your body, the louder it will scream at you to slow down and just do nothing.
It’s so important to listen to your body when it needs a break from parenting, life, work or even workouts. Stress will take its toll and by the time you notice the signs from your body that I’m going to share with you, you’re no longer functioning at your best.
Everything you do will continue to take you more time and with more brain fog. Slowing down and taking a break isn’t a waste of time. You’ll come back focused, refreshed and able to do much better work in a shorter amount of time.
Listen to Your Body’s Signals
Let’s take a good look at some of the signals your body might be sending you to let you know that it’s time to slow down or take a good rest. These are all signals that you’re getting exhausted. Listen to them and get some rest.
Depending on the situation, either active or passive relaxation may work. At other times, you’ve just got to admit defeat and go to sleep for a good 12 hours to catch up.
Brain Fog. One of the first signs of exhaustion is brain fog. You’re forgetting things, overwhelmed and irritable. Everyday tasks take longer than usual. It’s time to listen to your body and slow down.
Increasing irritability and mood swings. When you find yourself getting irritable and snapping at others no good reason, it’s a good sign that you’re stressed out. Mood swings are a powerful sign from your body that it’s time to slow down.
Extreme afternoon slump. Everyone gets a little tired in the afternoon. It’s the main reason many of us reach for coffee or a snack from 2pm to 4pm. On a bad day, you can barely keep your eyes open, or even have to lay down for nap to make it through the rest of the day. If this is happening to you frequently, take it as a signal that you need to slow down and rest more.
Junk food cravings. When you find yourself randomly picking on sugary snacks or other processed foods throughout the day, it’s another sign that you’re exhausted. What you’re trying to do is to compensate for your fatigue with sugar and salt…which can actually be a form of chemical dependency.
Getting Sick Frequently. Now your body is calling for help. When you’re constantly struggling with frequent colds and infections, then some serious changes are in order. Reduce your workload, find some help and let the non-essential things go!
Restorative rest is an essential part of self care, and never something that you have to feel guilty about.