For a long time, if I felt tired and moody, I ignored it.
I thought that these were normal side effects of ambition and hard work. If you want success, it comes at a sacrifice, right?
Society tells us that working overtime is good, that it’s only appropriate to take a holiday by the time you’re desperate for one, and even burnout seems to have a certain status lately.
But this sort of thinking doesn’t serve us, and it definitely isn’t how I want to live my life.
Like me, you probably would love to feel joyful, present and calm everyday.
So now I like to think a little differently. I’ve started listening to the exhaustion, and understanding that it’s a warning signal.
You can choose to read into your stress levels as a barometer of how well you're taking care of yourself.
Self-care is anything you enjoy doing, whether it's relaxing or active.
Here are 3 signs that you need to make time for more self-care:
1. Your body needs a rest
Stress in the body is different for everyone.
When I’m stressed, my neck and shoulders tense up immediately, and I end up stiff and uncomfortable.
Do you feel it in your chest, and your breathing gets shallow? Perhaps you find yourself wanting to sleep all the time – or you struggle to fall sleep at all. Your digestion might even be negatively affected by stress.
Take a moment to identify where stress goes within your body, and keep an eye out for the warning signs.
2. Self-control goes out the window
Here’s something you may not know: self-control and happiness are scientifically linked.
According to neuro-imaging research, the more positive emotion you’re feeling, the more brain access you have to the system in charge of self-control.
Isn't that amazing?!
So if you’re finding yourself eating more chocolate chip cookies than you intended or losing your temper over minor irritations, the best way to restore your willpower is by making time for more fun.
3. You’re Stuck on the Rumination Roundabout
Remember the part of the brain I just mentioned above? Anger and fear work in a different, "opposite" part of the brain, and this system is automatic. (You can read more about that here).
If you’re feeling depleted, there’s a much greater chance you’ll slip onto the roundabout of negativity and really struggle to get off.
If you’re full of positive energy, it’s easier to say no to negative spiral.
So, how much self-care is enough? Only you know that – or rather, your body, mind and behaviour know...
Listen to them.
The best part is that the more self-care you engage in, the more energy, enthusiasm and self-control you’ll have to bring to your work and relationships.
Rather than being a “waste of time”, self-care a must have for your health, happiness, and success.