Most of us have accepted that stress has become a common state in our lives. Between dealing with managers, managing deadlines, planning job progression, and keeping the family happy, we have come to the point that we’ve been stretching ourselves too thin.
Self-care has been a hot topic in social media, where people flaunt their own self-care acts. For women, self-care can be a skincare routine, shopping, a workout, a body massage, a full-body wax, or a Brazilian bikini wax. Meanwhile, men have their own version of self-care, such as playing their favorite computer games, mounting climbing, and other extreme fitness activities.
If having time for yourself has become a tall order, then it’s time to take a pause and make a health check. This article will talk about signs you should put self-care a priority.
Warning sign #1: Poor cognitive abilities
Minor mental slips are completely normal, such as forgetting to lock the door. But if you’ve been experiencing these instances more frequently, then it’s time to take a backseat. Mild forgetfulness and lack of focus are early warning signs. This is your mind telling you that it is having difficulty using its cognitive abilities.
When you keep losing focus on the task at hand and forget important deadlines and events, you’re likely entering burnout territory.
Warning sign #2: Mood and behavioral changes
Without a self-care routine, your life starts to unravel. You slowly lose interest in your hobby and the things you once loved. Detachment, isolation, and pessimism are clear signs of severe burnout. If you’ve been socializing less and often think negatively, it’s time to reassess if your time for self-care is enough and amp it up accordingly.
Warning sign #3: Physical signs of stress
Our bodies have different ways of indicating excessive stress, such as chest pain, muscle tension, trouble sleeping, fainting, and shortness of breath, among others. Although stress manifests in unique ways for each individual, there’s a huge correlation between physical and mental illnesses.
Once you notice the signs, don’t ignore them. These symptoms are your body’s way of telling you something is wrong. Give yourself some peace of mind by consulting a doctor to determine an underlying condition and identify if stress can be a ruling factor. If the doctor tells you that stress is a possible cause, it’s your responsibility to focus on the remedy and start a self-care routine.
Warning sign #4: Frequent tiredness
It’s natural to feel tired sometimes, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Pushing our bodies towards physical exhaustion actually enhances sleep quality, improves cardiovascular fitness, and lessens stress.
But when we feel tired for longer periods, this can lead to serious medical conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and high blood pressure. Lack of sleep also causes mood swings and comprises our immune function, making us prone to viruses and other contagious diseases.
Most adults require seven to eight hours of sleep but may vary depending on your lifestyle. So if your coworkers and friends are telling you how you look tired lately, perhaps it’s about to reassess your sleep routine.
Warning sign #5: Negative thinking
Have you been spending a lot of time complaining and nitpicking the negative parts of your life instead of being grateful for the good things that happened to you? If yes, this might be a sign you’re not investing much in your self-care practice.
Having a positive mindset drives you to focus more on the solution than being swamped by problems and negative things. If people have been avoiding you lately, this can signify that your negative outlook on life is putting people off.
Warning #6: Social isolation
Sometimes, avoiding life’s distractions is a form of self-care, but if you’ve been disengaging yourself completely from your social circle, this behavior will eventually harm your mental health.
People also turn to social isolation to escape their problems, responsibilities, and even loved ones. Although quiet time is a non-negationable and something we need to feel our best, completely isolating ourselves from other people can also harm our mental well-being.
Although most self-care activities can be done in solitude, it shouldn’t always be a solo gig. We have to recognize that we also need others for emotional support. Spending time with friends, going out on dinner dates, and traveling with the family are perfect examples of self-care activities done in groups.
In a society that makes us feel guilty about looking after ourselves, it’s easy to fall into the traps of self-neglect. Don’t ever feel guilty about spending time with yourself. Stress has become a part of life, but we shouldn’t let it take over our lives. In the end, a little self-care can go a long way towards achieving good mental well-being.