I think it's really important to have daily self care practices ingrained in your rituals - maybe your skincare routine, your morning meditation, or your many cups of chamomile tea. But there are times when we might need a little more, and it's important to recognize when you need time for self care so you can avoid feeling totally burned out.
When You Feel Chronically Overwhelmed
It's natural to feel overwhelmed throughout your day, especially if you work in a high stress environment. But if you're feeling overwhelmed day in and day out, it's time to do some extra self care. The same goes if you're feeling chronically stressed or anxious.
When You Feel Like You're Coming Down with a Cold
I firmly believe that a cold is our body's way of telling us to slow down. We can drink all the lemon water in the world, take as many vitamin c tablets as we want, but if we're not managing our stress, if we're not sleeping enough or eating enough whole foods, we're going to get sick. And that's okay, we're all going to get sick, there's no shame in that.
But if you feel like you're coming down with a cold, it's time to incorporate more self care. First off, you'll want to help your body heal from the cold. Drink healing teas, make some fire cider, and get into bed asap. But even when you've shaken off the cold, make more time for rest in your everyday routines, and make sleep and stress management a priority.
When You Experience Digestive Issues or Have Trouble Sleeping
I've always had weird aches and pains, and most of the time, it's related to my anxiety. It usually happens when I'm not taking care of myself, or if I'm going through a really stressful time where I'm not prioritizing my needs. But that doesn't mean the aches and pains aren't real.
I've found that my anxiety can physically manifest itself through headaches, stomachaches, indigestion, sensitivity to foods (when no medical tests prove I'm actually allergic), and of course, not sleeping. I know things are bad when I'm not sleeping; when it takes me ages to fall asleep, when I'm restless, and when I have trouble staying asleep. But that's just me, your anxiety may manifest itself in different ways.
When I start noticing these things, I know I need more time for self care. I'll make sure I'm eating lots of veggies, cut back on the sugar (it's my weakness!), and make sure I'm avoiding caffeine (I'm super sensitive to it, maybe you are too). I'll also make sure I'm taking time to exercise, I'll reduce my workload when I can, and I'll take an extra bath or shower to really relax.
When You Lose Interest
One of the first signs I'm experiencing depression (I have mild depression that I can mostly manage well) is if I'm feeling less creative, less inspired, and less engaged. It's also a sign that my anxiety is taking over, that I'm overwhelmed, and that all I've been doing is working. It's a red flag that I need to stop what I'm doing, and do something just for me. When I'm relaxed I have my best ideas, I'm much more motivated and engaged.
We all have different signs that we need to take more time for self care, so I hope this inspires you to reflect on your own needs, and how your body tells you that it needs to slow down. How do you know when you need more time for self care?