We all know we need to look after ourselves more. But week after week, self-care keeps slipping down the priorities list, until your body or mind rebels and you fall in a heap.
To avoid this, the trick is to become aware of the messages your mind and body are sending you every day. Here are the top three red flags to watch out for:
- You have trouble falling asleep
You’re exhausted, so why can’t you sleep? Sleep problems often occur when your nervous system is out of whack. You’re going to need to dedicate some time to calm and rebalance your nervous system.
- You can’t concentrate
Deadlines are looming and you’re running out of time, but you simply can’t focus. You find yourself flitting between unimportant emails and half done tasks. Why can’t you focus? You need a proper break – exercise you enjoy, good food and some real fun.
- You can’t cope with tiny hassles
The slightest problem sets you off. Your mobile and home phone ring at the same time and you feel you can’t cope. This is a sign that you’re not only feeling overwhelmed, but your mind is overloaded. It’s time to recharge.
What to do about it
- Choose to do it
Simply deciding to take better care of yourself right now can be a powerful step. Choose one thing you will do every day this week: it could be getting some exercise or getting to bed early, meditating, or making a worry time (see article on page 4), and then do it consistently.
- Be reasonable
Try to apply “reasonableness test” to your expectations of yourself. What would you reasonably expect someone else to do in this situation? Would you expect them to achieve all you’ve got on your to-do list today, and do it brilliantly?
- Take a mini-break
Taking a break makes you stronger. It refreshes and re-energises you. Move in a way you enjoy. Walk in the sunshine. Breathe deeply for three minutes. Go for a swim.
This article was previously published in the Well at Work Newsletter