Your body is trying to talk to you all the time. Good, bad, or indifferent it always has an opinion. Whether it’s chronic illness, hormonal issues, digestive problems, not being able to recover from the common cold, or all of the above- symptoms and flareups mean that something is off. I suggest you start listening, especially if you have a chronic illness (or two or three.)
Resist the urge to look up your symptoms on WebMD
You’ll most likely end up thinking you have cancer or a sexually transmitted infection. Nobody wants that. Especially avoid an internet search of your symptoms if it’s the weekend.
It's probably stress
Yeah, you knew that. Please, don’t hit me for stating the obvious. Stress is a constant in modern life, but are you doing anything about it?
When symptoms flare-up it's a sign to slow down
Yes, that’s easier said than done. People probably depend on you, but you’re a people too. If you’re always spreading yourself thin, what’s left? If your symptoms are flaring up, it’s time for you to get some of your own attention.
- Take the nonessentials and energy draining obligations off your schedule. If you can’t do it all at once, make a commitment to phase yourself out of energy draining situations.
- Schedule time to sincerely take care of you. Unless watching your favorite show on Netflix is rejuvenating, you better not be watching it when you could be sleeping.
- Ask for help. Tell your people that you’re not at 100%. You won’t get any help if you don’t ask. They may be able to help directly with an errand or indirectly by not making extra requests for your energy.
"But...But I can't!" Yes... Yes, you can.
Not all things in your life are 100% necessary. Projects can be put aside. I know it hurts. I really do. Even this website took longer than expected to get off the ground due to flareups around the stress of the holidays. Little by little I’ve made adjustments to my life so illness doesn’t completely knock me off my path.
I hate to say it, but your body will always win. It’s kinda like you’re driving and a bus tries to get in your lane; the bus is going to win. It’s best to let your body direct and call the shots. It can put up with a lot of abuse- late nights, early mornings, bad food, lots of caffeine, alcohol, etc- but it will stop you in your tracks if it has to. It’s best to preemptively rest than to be sick for weeks on end.
Remember, progress is not linear; we just pretend that it is. You can take a sidestep to recover and then continue on your way to greatness.