How do you know when you need to stop and slow down?
How do you know when your body is saying "enough"?
How do you know when you are emotionally about to break?
Our body and mind are always giving little signs, whispers and nudges that tell us when we are taking on too much, when we need a break and when we just need to slow down and take a breath. Often though, we are so disconnected from our mind and body that we don’t detect these warning signs early enough. Sometimes even if we do hear them, we chose to ignore these signs and power on anyway. The more we ignore these early warning signs, the louder they get. The tension in your shoulders and neck may turn into a debilitating migraine. The feeling of irritability, if ignored, can turn in to long-term stress or depressive symptoms. When we continue to ignore our warning signs over long periods of time, our everyday, normal stressors escalate into more severe mental, emotional and physical health problems.
In order to respond to our warning signs as soon as possible, we need to know what our particular warning signs are. Every person has different signs and triggers. The more mindful we are by checking in with ourselves regularly, the easier it is to be able to identify what our bodies are telling us. The sooner we respond and take action, the easier it is to change our mood state and stop ourselves from spiraling out of control.
Our early warning signs can manifest in a number of different ways including; physical, emotional, mental and behavioural symptoms. Here is a list of common warning signs that you may be able to identify in yourself:
Lowered immune system
Diarrhea or constipation
Increase in negative thought patterns/racing thoughts
Inability to concentrate
Worrying more than usual
Yelling at your children
Withdrawing from family and friends
Increase in alcohol use
Not wanting to get out of bed of a morning
Being more emotional than usual
Once you have identified your early warning signs, it is time to take action. What action you need to take will depend entirely on your situation. You may need to slow down, take 5 minutes to connect to your breath, spend time in nature, go out for a walk, go to the gym and sweat it out, call a friend, call in sick to work, ask for help, go to bed early, journal your feelings, leave work early, leave the washing up until later or do a meditation.
There are many different actions that you can take, and finding what works for you is really important. Knowing how to calm yourself down on the challenging days, will allow you to pull back earlier and not take your frustrations out on the people you love the most. I think as mamas, this is something that we all want to achieve. Be the role model that you want your children to grow up and learn from.