Do you know the signs, the signals, the symptoms, that you're doing too much, that you're about to blow up, that you need to take a break before you break down?
Sometimes we don't listen to the soft hints, the quiet interior whispers. Sometimes we feel too guilty, too responsible, too conflicted between serving others and being selfish, so we overextend and overextend until...
we have a stroke, or we break a leg, or we get a frozen shoulder, or pneumonia, or we break a hip and need a long convalescence, a much needed rest.
We all know people - I know two in the last week - to whom this has happened. And the first thing I think is, oh yes, they were so busy, they didn't know how to slow down, now they have no choice.
We do have a choice to hear the signals and symptoms from our wise bodies and react, to take care of our selves before we get hit with an illness that forces us to take good care.
What can I do, you ask? how will I know?
One of my signals is irritability. When I am overextended, or overtired, I don't even want to pat the cat. I don't want to water the plants, and I don't want to hear someone calling "mom" from down the hall. I get on edge, cranky or panic easily at small demands. When this happens, it's a signal to me to book a massage, take some much needed 'me time', make a mini-retreat one morning, spend time alone.
Another signal might be anxiety, pit of the stomach in knots all the time, no time to relax, or tight shoulders and achey neck, clenching your teeth and sore jaw, or sleepless nights thinking over and over the same problem. Flying off the handle at your kids or your boss when they make one demand too many....(they don't know you're at your limit....). NOTICE what your body does to signal to you that something is off, something is making you tense and upset.
What to do to remedy the situation: Put yourself on the agenda - don't be part of the Superwoman Club, the Women who Do Too Much and don't know how to stop and breathe - Make the time, don't want for the time to come for self-care - Write it into your schedule.
Give Yourself Permission to rest - I can't sing the praises of naps enough - they got me through menopause, and continue to be a great source of nourishment.
If you want to hear more, I am giving a lecture on THe Power of the Pause, at the Beaconsfield Library, Tuesday February 8, 7:30 pm.