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We’ve all been there. An exhausting day. A really tough week. I’m guessing all women feel a little blah, a little stuck, a little off, or a little uninspired now and then. It’s so common, we’re probably pretty used to it. Knowing it’s temporary, seems most of us muddle through and wait for it to pass.
But, what if feelings or sensations hang around a little longer? What if they become more frequent, increasingly intense, or maybe they come with other weird symptoms, too? And, what if, as I suspect many women do, in the busyness of our lives, we don’t take time to notice? Worse, what if we see it, but choose to look away?
Learning to pay attention to those warnings is what today’s blog is all about.
Let’s start with the belief that women are good at multi-tasking . This may be true for many, but is it really true for all of us? Juggling balls in the air is something women seem to do well. But, have we really failed if we’re unable to keep all the balls in the air at once?
Ask yourself: Do I have to do everything to be good?
How do we determine which balls to juggle and which to let fall to the ground? It appears many of us manage to keep the balls representing jobs, kids, and public appearances in the air. But, the more important balls — those representing sleep and relaxation, clean eating and exercise, and guilt-free time to ourselves – seem to often fall to the ground.
Ask yourself: Why am I ignoring myself? Am I too busy trying to please everyone else?
I’ve been using the juggling analogy to describe the female approach to self care. It works because women are notorious for doing it all, but seem to prioritize everything but themselves.
Heaven forbid anyone might think we’re taking care of ourselves!
What kind of person are we if we don’t do everything people expect us to do?
So, we keep on juggling. Sacrificing health, mood, weight, sleep, relationships, and more.
Ask yourself: How do I decide what things to spend time on, and what things to let slide?
I assert that juggling is meant to be observed. Either by a crowd of cheerful supporters, or by our own conscious selves in front of a mirror every now and again.
Am I juggling too many balls right now?
Why do I keep dropping the same ones over and over?
Is it my imagination or is this juggling act getting harder?
Wait a minute, is this supposed to be telling me something?
Alas, not all of us take time for reflection and observation. At least not on a regular basis.
Instead, here’s a list of 5 of some of the signs to look for. Each one of these indicates a lack of self care in one form or another.
5 Signs You’re in Need of Self Care
1. Fewer smiles
You’re not as happy as you used to be. There’s less fun, less laughter, less joy. You don’t care about important things the way you think you’re supposed to. Thinking about it, you actually can’t remember the last time you had a really, really good time. Sometimes, you feel like you’re no fun any more.
2. Weight & cravings
You’re reaching for sugary/carbs more often. Or maybe it’s salty snack foods you crave. Your weight is climbing faster and in different places, plus it’s harder to shed pounds in the usual ways. You find yourself frantically looking for food when you’re tired, low or jittery. You know you should probably eat better, but you’re giving your body what you think it needs right now.
3. Random symptoms
It’s hard to explain, but you don’t feel quite right. You’re either stiff or achy or bloated or constipated or something else. You’ve got headaches, hives, heart palpitations, or a bunch of random things. You’ve tried some home care, but nothing responds, so you can’t connect your symptoms to anything specific. As if coming out of nowhere, nothing seems to have an obvious cause.
4. Deep exhaustion
Broken sleep, sweaty sleep, or very little sleep, is your new normal. You’re tired, often exhausted, even after a full night’s sleep. Funny thing, some nights you’re wide awake right before bed time. Which doesn’t make sense, since you didn’t sleep much the night before. You’re dragging in the mornings, and even coffee doesn’t make much of a difference.
5. Growing isolation
You’re making excuses, turning down invitations, and just not participating in many things any more. You’re keeping a smile on your face so nobody knows what’s going on, except maybe a spouse or a close friend. It’s a lot of work reassuring everybody around you, but it’s easier than admitting the truth that you feel horrible most of the time. You’re frustrated, misunderstood, and feeling rather alone.
I’ve asked those questions to many women over the years. Often, the response is, “How did you get inside my head?” or, “I can’t believe you know all that just by looking at me”.
Ask yourself: Do any of those statements feel right to me?
You don’t need to answer ‘yes’ to them all. Even if one of those signs feels familiar, it’s time to prioritize self-care.
Returning to the juggling analogy, it’s time to drop some other balls. As many as it takes to make time for self care. It’s also time to figure out how to support yourself, and get support from others, too. You need it, if you’re to get back to your balanced, healthy self. There are some easy ideas here, but your should browse the web site for many more.
Though self-care may seem like a luxury, it’s really a requirement. Self care is actually the fuel for everything else we do. Should you ever feel guilt around prioritizing self care, think how you’ll do anything after completely falling apart!
To finding your balance and good health,
As a coach, writer, recovered over-doer and busyness addict, I understand the challenges of creating a balanced, healthy lifestyle while the mind tries to sabotage your success. In my journey to vibrant health, I created a personalized health system of nutrition and supplementation, lifestyle changes, and I retrained my mind and the energy of my body. I view my success as the formula to my happy, healthy life. I now empower other women to create their own personalized formulas, including the tools and strategies just right for them! Amazing life shifts come from our relationships. I look forward to helping you, too!
I love this! I am on the stair machine at the gym finishing reading it. This article helped me even get to the gym today. With back to school and work demands I had missed the last three days. I can’t do that to myself! Thank you!
Delighted this blog served as a reminder, Caroline. Thanks for sharing how it inspired you!