Do you know when you need more self-care?
When it’s time to be more compassionate?
When your body, mind and soul need a little TLC?
You might be one of those people tuned into yourself, able to connect easily to your state of mind, feelings and health, but not everyone finds this easy.
We all get caught up in life at times, and only realise too late that we’ve let things get out of control. That we should have given ourselves a break earlier. Been a little kinder to ourselves. Remembered to take some time to ourselves, to give ourselves some space, to do something nice for ourselves.
I’ve written this post for us all – me included – to be a little more proactive. To check in with ourselves every week, or even every day, to see if any of the list below resonates.
Of course, if you agree with just one or two of these signs, everything still might be fine. We’re all going to have good and bad days. But if you find yourself consistently checking off more than a handful of the below, then step back and include a little more self-care in your week. (Here’s where to start with self-care if you need some help.)
You know you’re not taking care of yourself…
- When you creak rather than bounce out of bed.
- When a small voice at the back of your head says, ‘it’s got to be better than this’.
- When your body is flooded by regular washes of adrenaline that keep you high – then leave you dry.
- When your holidays come around and you get sick as soon as you reach the beach.
- When you reach for a glass of wine or two at the end of every day to just keep yourself mellow.
- When you lie awake in bed at night, despite your body dropping with exhaustion, brain humming.
- When you spend all your time worrying about other people and never give a thought to your own well being.
- When anxiety clutches you in the few moments you’re alone with your thoughts.
- When you don’t remember the last day you spent time outdoors and weren’t on your way somewhere.
- When the voice in your head is a litany of criticisms about all the things you’ve done wrong.
- When you look at your inbox and all the things on your to-do list and you feel queasy.
- When you feel constant low-level guilt for your lack of contact with friends and family.
- When you decide you don’t have time to be ill and you ‘solider on regardless’.
- When others ask you all too often ‘are you ok? no, I mean, really ok?’
- When you struggle to think of anything you want to be doing.
- When contentment is elusive, and joy is non-existent.
- When your body aches and your bones groan.
- When your heart pounds, and your breath hitches.
- When you get emotional at the flick of a switch.
- When you beat yourself up for your mistakes.
- When the small things seem like the big things.
- When everything seems like a chore.
- When people comment, ‘you look tired’.
- When you snap at people for no reason.
- When your future feels…blank.
- When you’re in overwhelm.
- When you’re sad for no reason.
- When you don’t know how to stop.
- When your heart is hurting.
- When the bad days outnumber the good.
Will you see the signs?
Sometimes, life happens.
We get caught up in the day-to-day, the rush of events, other people’s priorities. Our time is eroded in dribs and drabs as we dash from crisis to crisis. And another year passes, our adrenal glands pumping, our body on constant alert for an attack that’s much more insidious than a sabre-toothed lion.
Being kind to yourself is a little like brushing your teeth. It’ll leave you with a good feeling in the here and the now, but the long-term effectives are preventive, and you may never know what you’ve averted by taking care of yourself along the way.
(NB: If you feel too many of these you might want to seek professional help – as self-care can only do so much)
So, when will I be done with self-care?
A reader emailed me last week to ask “How do you know when you’re taken care of yourself?’ and I’ve been mulling this over ever since. The ‘negative’ version that I’ve written above, i.e. how you know if you haven’t taken care of yourself, was easier to write because if you’re taking care of yourself – just like you probably won’t get toothache if you brush your teeth – you won’t see the above signs.
And life will be…easier. Calmer. Sparklier.
But unfortunately, you’ll never be done with self-care. There’s never a moment when you can tick it off the list, and consider that item complete.
Just like brushing your teeth, little and often is more likely to avert any setbacks later.
What small self-kindness will you include in your day today?