Listen to your body - it knows. Image: tatjanapilate/dreamstime.com
Recently I've been giving myself permission to listen to my body, and itís thanking me for it.
Previously, being an extremely self-driven person had led me to achieve a lot at first. However, after a while, ignoring my need to lay down and get enough rest has led me to burning out. More frustratingly, it has caused me to have even greater periods of time where I canít work.
Now, I make sure I get a solid eight hours sleep. I donít oversleep either, because I have learnt through experience that this leads to inertia, like walking through went cement. You just get stuck.
Listen for the signs that your body is tired.
Is your concentration getting poorer? Are you finding it hard to think clearly?
A classic and easy symptom to identify is yawning. Yawning is a reflex mechanism that occurs to try to get more oxygen to the brain.
Do your eyes start to shut involuntarily? It might mean you need to shut them for a while. Ten minutes or maybe more. Even if you donít fall into a proper sleep, just resting the brain can recharge your batteries.
Are you experiencing aches and pains in your muscles and joints? Even if your brain is active, it might be a sign that you still need to rest. The body works as a whole. If youíre listening to only one part of it, another body system might let you down.
When you are allowed to sleep in, for example, on the days you are not working; do you find yourself sleeping excessively? This is a classic sign of sleep debt.
Do you find yourself getting colds and other infections more easily? A sore throat is often the first sign youíre overtired.
Do you have an identifiable reason you may need to sleep more, which you need to listen to. For me, I am on a lot of medication that has sedation is a side effect. Itís frustrating, but I need to accommodate that, and listen to it. Other conditions also include an under active thyroid; chronic fatigue syndrome; burn-out (extremely common) and can be more specific to people who have multiple jobs - for example mothers who work, look after children and also push themselves to do other things.
If you donít fall asleep after half an hour and you feel you really need to rest, then perhaps itís a sign that your body doesnít really need it.
Your body has its own innate wisdom thatís really amazing.
What a wonderful article. I know, in some small way, where you are coming from with needing to listen to your body's needs. I've got a few health challenges that make me quite tired -- Hashimoto's Disease, Hypothyroidism etc -- it can be really tough to make it through the day and just get the minimum done. When I need to sleep I do my best to give in to it too. But oversleeping is just as problematic.
Thank you for writing this thoughtful and informative article. I certainly relate.
I think you are right Selina - it is really a like walking a fine tightrope at times...for example I need to distinguish what might be medication and what is really me needing to slow it down.
Thank you for your feedback - it meant a lot to me :)