We all listen to our bodies sometimes. We eat when we feel hungry, and we go to bed when we’re tired. But our bodies send many additional signals other than the mere pangs of hunger and the gentle tugs for rest.
Unfortunately, we’ve become more accustomed to listening to the signals we receive from our phones. It seems far easier than tuning in to the fine but precise messages we get from our own bodies.
Today we’ll be looking at different ways to teach ourselves to hear them better and why this is so important.
Why We Choose to Tune It out
Pushing through the pain and appearing to be tougher than we are is a behavior pattern women have been adopting for centuries. Not wanting to come off as the weaker sex, we’ve been gritting our teeth and going the extra mile, even when our own bodies have been telling us to stop for centuries.
And while pushing through the pain occasionally is fine, it’s a very bad way of doing things in the long run.
The more damage we do to our physical and mental health, the more difficult it will be to bounce back. The more we demand from ourselves, the faster we will burn out. And once we pass that point of no return, we won’t be able to do what we have set out to do – to be strong and fearless.
It is high time that we, as a society, eradicate the hustle mentality and the “no pain no gain” philosophy. We are not weak for needing or wanting sleep or rest, or just a slower pace. Taking care of ourselves is not a sign of weakness; it is a sign of strength, and we need to accept it as such. Instead of taking away from ourselves, we should be leaning in to the signals we’re sending ourselves and becoming better humans day by day.
The Signs to Listen out for
When we’re in pain, we know what that means. When we spike a fever, we understand there is an infection somewhere in our bodies. Blood and bruises we understand too. But what about the more subtle signs we tend to ignore? What about the daily reminders we are doing something wrong?
Keep an eye out for these signals your body may be sending you. If you notice them, the time has come to rethink your lifestyle and consider implementing certain changes.
- Waking up tired
- Feeling anxious or on edge
- Constantly feeling tired, even after a good night’s sleep
- Dreading seeing friends or going to work
- Experiencing dry skin or hair
- Puffy eyes or swollen facial features
- Lackluster eyes
It’s perfectly normal that we all experience these symptoms when we’re under heightened stress or more taxed than usual. But when they become chronic, it’s high time to act.
Habits to Foster and Implement
If you’ve noticed your body has been sending you these signals, sit yourself down and have a very honest conversation with yourself.
Ask yourself how you are feeling and why. Then, take decisive action to make the changes that are necessary for you to feel better.
For starters, you want to start sleeping better now. Sleep is the rock you can build your life on, so don’t ever make it the first thing you sacrifice to achieve whatever goal. A rested you will always perform better and enjoy life more than a sleep-deprived you. For more ways to help you sleep, check out Sleep for Optimal Health Free Email Series from Swellness Coaching.
What other changes you’ll need to make will naturally depend on the lifestyle you are living now. Maybe you need to be more mindful of what you eat or how much you move. Perhaps you need to cut some toxic people out of your life. Perhaps you need to do more of what makes you happy rather than what makes others satisfied.
Journaling, meditation, yoga, and mindfulness are all incredibly beneficial tactics to embrace too. You naturally don’t have to incorporate all of them, especially if you are not the particularly mindful sort of person (which is totally okay!).
Consider what habits and practices make you feel better. However, shopping is not allowed on the list. Consider activities that require no expense and that you can reasonably engage in every day or as often as you want. Identifying them may take time, but once you have them down, you can reach for them when you need them.
Regular Check-Ins and Fine-Tuning the Connection
Even after you’ve made self-care a priority, you should still remain mindful and establish the habit of tuning in to your body regularly.
Set aside some time to sit down in a quiet room and relax your body. Examine how you are truly feeling, both physically and mentally. Go over every important aspect of your life and see what you need to change, if anything.
The modern pace of life often leaves us with very little time to reflect. We easily get caught up in the business of living our daily lives to notice what our life is turning out to be. These regular examinations will help you stay on track with your goals and your dreams, no matter how busy life gets.
You are likely to not feel your best again at one point or another. But that doesn’t mean you are failing at self-care or that you are not doing enough. It’s practically impossible to keep yourself at a constant high. When the lows happen, accept them for what they are. Let them pass, and do your stuff to help them pass all the quicker.
To Sum It Up
Listening to your body can literally change your life. Embrace this practice that was once such a large part of our lives, and don’t dismiss the importance of forging a connection with yourself. After all, no matter how well-connected you may be in every other aspect of your life, you are only likely to suffer if you’re disconnected from yourself.
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