Life is like a rollercoaster in that it brings a lot of high, happy times and a lot of low, not so great times.
I find that sometimes when we’re riding the wave of feeling great and we push ourselves to the edge because we are feeling almost invincible. When you’re feeling full of energy and your body can do everything you want to do, it’s hard to imagine being limited on your energy, strength and overall abilities. And why would you? If you’re feeling great, that’s perfect, you should continue riding your wave. However, there’s also an in-between phase.
In the in-between phase you’re not exactly full of energy all the time, but you haven’t hit a low point either. I call this the “warning” phase. The warning phase should be taken seriously because it is your body, mind and soul’s way of telling you that you are going too fast.
These are the signs of the warning phase:
- you aren’t living life full of energy
- life feels mundane and you are mostly pushing yourself to finish your daily responsibilities
- you find it hard to get out of bed in the morning
- you never have time to do the hobbies you love
- can’t remember the last time you painted, did yoga on a daily basis, or treated yourself to a spa
These are just some examples of the signs warning you need to stop and re-evaluate before life forces you to stop.
This is what happened to me. I’ve always had my feet planted firmly into the ground and pushed myself to work, go to school, do a million household chores and never took the time to stop and re-focus my priorities.
The days I had off from my busy schedule I spent sleeping 12-14 hours, not realizing that this too was a sign that I was overworking myself. I never went to sleep before midnight, even if I needed to wake up at 5am the next morning. I started to live my life on a sort of autopilot mode, not really enjoying anything, just focusing on getting through each day and checking things off of my checklist. I would drink coffee from morning until night, and would eat whatever meal was easiest to make the day before.
Since I am a vegan, I convinced myself I was healthy, eating rice, spaghetti, bread, beans, and chickpeas as my main and almost only food groups. At times I would catch myself feeling guilty for not making a salad or something healthier, but I would suppress those emotions as I felt too tired to make any meal that would take time or effort.
Even when I would have a cold or would generally feel unwell, I would still go to work. Once again feeling “guilty” about calling in sick to work, thinking as though they would not be able to continue without me. Looking back now, I feel as though I was living on autopilot and did not want to disappoint anyone or to fall behind with school and the rest of my responsibilities.
I realize now that my body was giving me warning signs long before anything physically occurred to stop me in my tracks. Instead of listening to what my body was telling me, I continued to feel invincible, and carried on living an unhealthy lifestyle.
Now I encourage people to listen to these warning signs and take them seriously.
I realize it can be challenging to take time off from your busy schedule, but this is your well-being we are talking about! Certain professions have personal days for their employees, and if you do have personal days available to you, I encourage you to take them. Not everyone has that, so here is how you create them yourself.
Making time for yourself:
- Make a list of all the things you HAVE to do for the next few days, things that feel like you cannot miss them
- Now number them in order of importance
- Now look at the things on the bottom of the list, and cancel them (don’t worry, everything will be ok, even if you are not there)
- Now you have free time! Or even a free day
Now, what to do with your free time:
- First rule: Do not sleep through all of it
- Second Rule: Do not spend it watching TV (unless there is just a really amazing movie you have been wanting to see for a long time)
- Third Rule: Do something for you! This includes: having a bath and reading, going for a spa day or having one at home, doing some light excercise, starting a DIY project, working on a craft or an art project, writing. Try to do any creative project, this will help energize and relax you, even if it doesn’t feel that way at first, I promise!
Next step, set a little bit of time for yourself every day! Set an hour a day aside for yourself every day. One hour is not too much. You can spend this hour doing anything you love, or anything you feel you need to do for yourself. Take this time seriously. Put it in your calendar and stick to it like it’s an important meeting you cannot miss.
If you cannot manage to set aside time everyday, then schedule a block of a few hours a week for yourself.
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If you would like some inspiration on having some you-time, I suggest reading the Miracle Morning, which you can buy here ! Hal Elrod explains the importance of setting aside time of yourself, and how much more productive and successful you will be if you do this (Imagine that!). The miracle morning is totally customizable in the length of time and you can spread it out throughout the day.
If you have any tips and tricks on making time for yourself in a busy schedule, please leave a comment and share your wisdom!