I bet you feel a little less like yourself from time to time. Whether you’re having a stressful week at work, are starting to feel under the weather, or are just having a hard time keeping it together emotionally, a disconnect starts to happen and you can’t seem to get right.
You’d be surprised, but the best things for you are sometimes the simplest. They’re also the things that if ignored long enough will cause bigger problems, but if given more time and effort in the short-term can help prevent long-term effects.
Below are what I’ve found to be the best questions to ask and respond to so you can get back on track quickly.
AM I JUST TIRED?
Sleep is the first thing we let slide when we get busy. How many times have you caught yourself saying, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead”? Or, “Sleep is overrated”. Admittedly, unless you’re a vivid dreamer, life is more exciting when you’re awake. Even so, you’ll find you can’t fully enjoy it unless or until you’re experiencing it fully rested. How many times have you caught yourself out with friends or spending time with family after work, yawning, wishing you had enough energy to enjoy it?
Sleep is required for your body to complete its daily cleanup. When you’re awake your bodily functions are primarily driven by what you’re doing and thinking, but when you’re asleep, your body is actively working within itself to clean up the mess and recharge for the next day. And it needs enough time and rest to do that, or you’ll wake up still depleted when the job’s not done.
When you’re feeling a little under the weather, the best thing to do is go to bed early and sleep until your body is done. No alarm, just rest. Try this for 3-5 nights in a row, if you can, and see how much more rested you feel. Oh, and naps are DEFINITELY okay. Take them when you need them.
AM I JUST DEHYDRATED?
Are you sleepy? Are you hungry? Are you cranky? Or are you just dehydrated? Even a little dehydration can cause any of the aforementioned symptoms, so drink up and do it regularly. Your body needs a solid daily dose, roughly half your body’s weight in ounces. Before you grab a snack or get too sassy, be sure to ask yourself if all you need is just a tall glass of water to wash away your icky feelings.
I try to drink as much water as soon after waking as possible to start my day right, but also to replenish what was lost overnight. If I’m sleeping 8 hours at night and talking in my sleep (which I do often), I could lose a good litre of water by breathing it out! Replenishing right away keeps me balanced from morning until night.
For more on the importance of drinking water, read this book.
AM I JUST UNDERNOURISHED?
In times of stress and hustle, food somehow gets forgotten. Whether you’re too stressed to eat, grabbing fast food instead of homemade, or just don’t make the time to eat sitting down without distractions, nourishment tends to suffer. This is when having nutrient-dense, well-balanced meals prepared comes in handy.
In times like these, you may find yourself drinking more coffee or caffeinated tea, skipping meals, or shifting your diet to one that’s more sweet and indulgent. Instead of heading into this vicious cycle, ask yourself if you could be eating better. Each meal doesn’t have to be perfect, but every meal is a chance to make a different decision if you give it conscious thought.
AM I JUST STAGNANT?
Do you work a desk job? Do you drive to and from work? Do you sit around at night watching television? Do you make time to exercise and move your body on a daily basis to balance that out? Your body needs to move to be efficient, otherwise your pipelines become clogged, muscles become weak, and organs become sluggish.
Take it from me, I didn’t know how beneficial exercise was until I started doing it regularly. Suddenly, I had more energy, thought more clearly, retained information better, and found regular everyday movements to come more easily, instead of feeling like I was 80 years old when I got out of a chair.
Movement is essential to life. It has the ability to make you feel anew, even reverse or slow your aging. Say what? Yep. And every little bit counts. Slowly increase your daily movement, including time outdoors, until you feel balanced.
AM I JUST NOT BREATHING DEEPLY ENOUGH?
Take a moment and sit without distractions. Breathe normally for 1 minute, then reflect. Am I breathing shallowly or deeply? How long are my in breaths and my out breaths? Is my mind racing and do I wish I were doing something else throughout the process?
Taking slow breaths literally slows down and strengthens your life force energy, allowing you to savour life more fully and presently. If you’ve ever regularly practiced yoga, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Pranayama and deep breathing can be life savers, especially for a racing mind and tense body. It takes practice, but if you can stop yourself in times of panic to sit and breathe, extending your breath to your full capacity, nice and slowly, then you can bring yourself back to peace. And health rests in peace.
Good health doesn’t have to be fancy or complicated. It can be as simple as touching base with yourself on a regular basis to see how you’re doing and listening to what you need. Start forming a good relationship with your body now and don’t be afraid to listen to what it has to say. Most of all, heeding its advice and giving it what it needs instead of ignoring its cries for help will keep you on the good side of health.
So, step up! Your body needs you.