By Amanda Smith
We all know feeling groggy and tired indicates it’s time for a nap—or a strong cup of coffee—but I started to notice my body sending me signals that, at first, I didn’t recognize as a sign to pause. To take a rest. I had to take a step back and listen. What was my body trying to tell me?
I thought, if I couldn’t tell when I needed to press pause, maybe there were other people out there that needed similar reminders to chill. It’s a process, but I'm learning how to rest properly, how to tune into my body, and how to give back to myself.
Sleepy, despite sleep
Have you ever been on the verge of falling asleep on a Zoom call? (No? Just me?) I’d end up feeling fatigued, forgetful, and just overall lacking energy, even though I got eight hours of sleep a night. I blamed it on too much TikTok before bed. What I didn’t consider was that everybody is unique, and my body needed more sleep than I was getting to feel refreshed. I also wasn’t giving myself a break from the routine of life.
Now, when I feel that sleepy feeling coming on in the middle of the day, I take a short walk outside in the fresh air. It lets my mind rest and I feel re-energized. When you start feeling that mid-day slump, try giving your body and mind a quick break to rest and reset.
Remember to breathe
Whether meeting up for coffee with a friend, creating content for brands, or reading a good book on my porch, I realized I wasn’t as excited for the things I once loved. I felt burnt out—like I didn’t have the energy to do what I wanted.
So I’ve started to remind myself that it’s okay to take a deep breath, turn off all of my notifications, maybe even take a personal day from work, and just take a step back. Whatever I need to do to take the much-needed break my body is demanding.
Nurture your body and mind with good foods
This is up and down for me, but I’ve taken time to learn my body’s signals and know that this is the first red sign my body gives me when I need a break. Since I’m constantly on the go, I don’t always have access to healthy options or time to sit down for a home-cooked meal. When I go too long surviving on takeout or quick, thoughtless meals, my appetite goes through some crazy changes. I’m either eating everything in sight or forgetting to eat all day.
But without proper nutrition, your body can’t give you the energy and focus you need. I’ve learned that Zoom calls and coffee dates can wait—taking time to feed myself with nutritious meals is an act of self-care.
Exhale, stretch, and let it go
Let’s face it. When we’re tired and have no energy, we can get a little … grumpy. Everything annoys us and triggers us to lash out at the people around us. Recently, when I was so overwhelmed at work, completely burnt out, and creatively exhausted, I couldn’t even stand the sound of my partner breathing from across the room.
But I let it pass, realizing that my stress and exhaustion were getting the better of me and that ultimately, the stress of work, appointments, keeping up with my friends, bettering myself physically and mentally were all adding up to be too much. It felt like there was no time just to maintain my day-to-day mental and physical health. I realize this might not be a solution for everyone, but something had to give for me. So, I quit that job, got a therapist, and started taking the supplements that I lacked. So far, so good.
When your body speaks, listen
Sometimes, our bodies use physical signals to let us know that our minds are overworked and it’s time to rest. Have you ever felt nauseous out of nowhere? Got a sudden hot flash while driving to work? Had a headache pop up, right before an important meeting? While, of course, you might actually be sick, it may also be your body trying to tell you that it’s time to take a break. Not a fifteen-minute break—a legit pause.
Speaking from personal experience, if you brush off your body’s need to rest for too long, it starts sending you physical signals that you can’t ignore. When I suddenly feel sick or get a headache, I know that my body is probably telling me its needs are being ignored.
If you can relate to these issues, then your body may require some serious R&R. I’m learning that if I feel a need to pause, it’s 100% okay. If I’m not honoring what my body is telling me, then, in the long run, I won’t be able to do what needs to get done.
It’s up to you to determine what your body needs and take care of it. Our bodies speak to us, sometimes in strange ways, and it's our job to listen and learn to give ourselves what’s needed to be at our best.
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