In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy to forget to listen to our bodies. We’re so busy with work, school, and other commitments that we often ignore the signals our bodies are sending us. However, listening to your body is crucial to maintaining good health and well-being.
So why do I bring this up? You might be wondering, “did CJ suddenly decide to do a health blog?” Ha! Don’t worry, friends! I like bacon and beer way too much for that. But I recently had to learn the hard way that you should listen to your body a little more before it makes you listen!
Truth be told, in nearly seven years with my current employer, I’ve only taken five sick days. Three of those days were taken last year when I had the great fortune to end up with COVID (please read this with joyful sarcasm). So I didn’t really have much of a choice there. I’m actually quite proud of that record. I usually feel guilty taking sick days. But the point I’m trying to make is that I rarely call in sick. Even though there are plenty of days when I probably should. I only took day number five this past week. I had already left work early the day before because I was feeling off. I figured I just needed some sleep. The next day, I tried to get out of bed and pretty much dropped to the floor like an oversized sack of rotten potatoes. I had zero energy and felt like someone was digging their fingers into my face. So, back to bed, I went. My body decided it was having none of my shenanigans today, so it did what it could to make me listen. Believe me, I needed it.
Your body is constantly communicating with you. It sends you signals when it needs rest, nourishment, or movement. For example, if you feel hungry, your body is telling you it needs fuel. If you feel tired, your body is telling you it needs rest. If you feel stiff or achy, your body is telling you it needs movement.
Ignoring these signals can lead to physical and mental health problems. For example, ignoring hunger signals can lead to overeating or undereating, which can lead to weight gain or malnutrition. Ignoring movement signals can lead to stiffness, poor posture, and joint pain. Ignoring tiredness signals can lead to burnout or chronic fatigue…or hitting the floor when you’re about to go to work. Especially when you’re already sick!
So, how can you listen to your body? Here are some tips:
- Pay attention to your hunger signals. Eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full. There’s no shame in snacking!
- Get enough sleep. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night. I know at some points, that doesn’t even feel like enough.
- Take breaks when you need them. If you’re feeling tired or overwhelmed, take a break and rest. Even a microbreak can help you recharge!
- Move your body regularly. Exercise or do some form of physical activity each day. This sounds like a lot of work but makes a world of difference.
- Practice mindfulness. Pay attention to how you’re feeling in the moment.
- Check in with your body regularly. Take a few minutes daily to check in with your body and see how it feels. Be honest with yourself!
I don’t know who needs to hear this, but it’s ok to need a minute. Take a sick day! Do whatever you have to do to take care of yourself. And I’m not saying take a sick day off work to play X-Box, get a haircut, or because you just broke up with your boyfriend/girlfriend of 2 weeks and you simply can’t (all of these are excuses I’ve been given in the past). I mean, take a day off to really take care of yourself when you need to! Because if you can’t take care of yourself, then you won’t be able to take care of anything, or anybody, else. I may not be an expert, but this is coming from experience.
Remember, your body is your temple. It’s important to take care of it and listen to its needs. By doing so, you’ll be able to maintain good health and well-being, both physically and mentally. So don’t ignore it when it calls to you and says no!