Are you taking time to take care of yourself? Let’s talk for a minute about stress and self-care.
I know, I know… but hear me out.
While I know that “self-care” has become something of a buzzword these days, and many self-professed workaholics are becoming increasingly annoyed at the mere mention of it, I’ve learned from personal experience the importance of giving yourself a break.
When you’re stressed out, bad things happen to your body and mind.
I’ve found that when it comes to stress, there are two types of people:
- Those who feel it most in their body.
- Those who feel it most in their mind.
If you’re the former, you may find yourself suffering from headaches, backaches, muscle spasms, intestinal problems, insomnia, chest pain, frequent illness, lack of energy, panic attacks, and more.
That’s right, stress can absolutely create physical symptoms in your body.
If you’re the second type (like me), your body may keep going under the pressure, but your mind will start to slip. You’ll feel irritable, snapping at people and cranky all the time. You might also feel lonely and isolated, making the stress worse. You may find yourself getting more easily agitated, becoming more forgetful, and struggling to focus.
You might be swigging more caffeine than usual just to try to keep yourself awake and focused, and this tends to make it even worse.
It’s no picnic, is what I’m saying.
While we can all feel both types of symptoms of stress, most people will feel one type first, and more than the other. Think about what some of the first signs you are super stressed out are for you. That will tell you your type.
Most of us have become so accustomed to the stress, we ignore the signs. They slip right past us and just become part of our new normal.
This is a problem, people.
We’re not meant to live this way. We’re not supposed to feel this way.
That’s why self-care is so truly important.
This past weekend, I had so many plans for my work. With client work on the shelf for the weekend, I was going to make headway on some personal projects.
I had so many tasks in my plans: the next module in that course I’m working on, at least two more chapters in my latest fiction piece, some editing on my current non-fiction book, decluttering my office…
Now that I think about it, that was a hefty list for a weekend under normal circumstances.
It turns out, I didn’t do any of that stuff.
None of it.
Saturday was an insane day of trying, trying, trying… yet failing to complete anything. I ended the day exhausted and disappointed in myself and all that I hadn’t accomplished.
Sunday I made a personal/family/mental health day. Honestly, it was one of the best things I ever could have done. After getting some bad news, I threw out my to-do list for the day, and just focused on feeling better.
I wanted to dive into my work and lose myself in the many tasks of the day. I wanted to numb my feelings with the distraction of deadlines and responsibilities. I wanted to launch myself into a world where I was successful, accomplished, and where I didn’t have to worry about real life for a while.
Instead, I spent time with my kids and then some time alone doing the things that help me feel better and get my mental game back on.
And I didn’t even feel guilty about it (like I would have in the past).
The thing is, I’ve learned the hard way that those feelings you bury don’t really go anywhere. They always come back, and usually, they come back with a vengeance.
Sometimes, they’ll come back when you least expect it — when you’re feeling great, when you’re on the top of your game — then BAM! They smack you right in the face.
Sometimes they come back in another form — like the flu or a fall/accident.
But they always come back.
And this is why it’s super important you make the time for self-care.
Self-care looks different for everyone, but it’s very important you find your way, and then make it happen — on the regular. It could be:
— a soak in a hot bath
— an intense workout in the gym
— curling up with a good book
— going for a run
— a phone call with your best friend
— binge-watching Netflix
— working on a craft or hobby
The list goes on and on… but the point is that you take time to do the things that center you and give you peace.
I had to step away from the computer for a bit so that I could be better when I returned.
In the past, I would have come up with a million excuses not to do this.
“I’m too busy.”
“There are so many more important things I need to do.”
“People will think I’m lazy.”
But that’s what they are: excuses.
Tired, old lies we tell ourselves because we are getting the self-love we need.
You see, the thing I’ve come to learn in the past few months is that mindset is everything.
You can work hard.
But you might feel like you’re spinning your wheels. Why can’t you land the clients? Why aren’t you closing? Why aren’t you selling? Why are you so overworked with so little to show for it?
Yup, been there. Done that. Don’t need the t-shirt.
I had major burnout and I still wasn’t closer to my goals. My mind wasn’t right. I was tired all the time. I was doubting myself.
I was forgetting the most important thing: taking care of myself.
As the saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup.
I realized that despite my hefty to-do list and good intentions upon waking, Sunday was just one of those days I needed to stop and take care of myself.
Most importantly, I accept that this is OKAY.
In fact, it’s better than okay. It is the expectation.
I accepted this as a reminder from the Universe that self-care is important and I’d been slacking in that department. It was time to remedy that.
We don’t have to be workaholics.
We DO need time to relax, unwind, or enjoy with our families. This is not a luxury, it’s a necessity.
So, as we head into this weekend, don’t forget to make time for yourself. I’m all about that hustle, but we all need time to rest, too.