5 Signs that you need to slow down!

Exhausted Body and mind

This post is coming after a long hiatus. I took a break from everything! I was on vacation for over two weeks. Originally, the plan was to get down to some serious hard-work immediately after the vacation.

Unfortunately, I came down with a persistent fever and body ache that kept coming back. The weekend before last, I could feel my knees knocking together – that’s how bad the exhaustion was, and when I sat down to write, it was laughable. 

Considering, I had been in one of the most inspiring cities in the world (Paris!), I was like a dried well with no ideas flowing in. So, I did myself a favor and completely disconnected from everyone. I went into hibernation. Seriously! I went for long walks, ate healthy food, exercised, watched lighthearted comedy, and even tried meditating. 

It has been two weeks of R&R. I did have my 9-5, but apart from that, I did only what was best for my body, mind, and soul. Does this ever happen to you where you feel tired to your very soul? 

We were sent down here to live a happy, productive life. It shouldn’t be a struggle. You should be reveling in all that life has to offer – in the sheer joy of it! Don’t be so busy nurturing ambitions, that you forget to truly grow. Slow down and allow yourself the time to reflect and review.

There are those pesky little to-do lists, crammed full of activities. It’s as if in a scared part of our mind, we truly believe that if we slowed down for so much as a second, the world will leave us behind.

Keeping busy is good. It’s good to have ambitions that demand your best, but when in pursuit of said ambitions, your ‘actions’ start hurting your body and mind, so much so that your single-minded focus borders on abuse, you really do need to slow down.

Our body signals when it is in distress. You feel fatigue, restless, and even pain but in the absence of any overt physical symptoms, we tend to keep going. As it turns out, there are signs of mental and spiritual exhaustion that you should heed.

Related: Quick and Easy ways to be consciously healthy

Signs of burn out

5 signs that we frequently encounter and carelessly ignore till things get worse and we are FORCED to slow things down -

1) Sudden bursts of angry behaviour

Unless you’re a disrespectful ass, needlessly snapping people’s head off and indulging in temper tantrums isn’t normal. If you catch yourself lapsing into sudden angry behaviour or even just getting annoyed for no apparent reason, you need to take a close look at your behaviour and any possible triggers for the change. 

Possible Cause & Solution- 

It could be something as simple as your body not getting enough sleep, and something as huge as your life going down a path you never asked for and never really wanted. 

Babies aren’t the only ones who get cranky without sleep. It is something that happens to adults too, and it is a lot less cute on us. We may not cry and scream out of this ‘crankiness’, but we find our own destructive ways of expression. So, get some sleep, people! 

You may think you don’t have enough time for it, but here’s something you don’t realise – if you get proper sleep, you will be more productive. It will help you function better and you’ll get more done.

On the other hand, the whole thing could be because what you’re doing in your life isn’t making you happy. If your life is full of doing things that make you unhappy, you really need to stop. Chasing goals because they seem to be the right ones isn’t what life is about.

Yes, we have to be practical, but we also have the right to pursue dreams that make our hearts sing. Maybe it’s time for you to take a break and find a happy balance between what you need to do and what you want to do.

Related: 15 Activities That Can Make You Instantly Happy

2) Confusion and Chaos reign supreme

Looking for your socks in the refrigerator. 

Driving down to the grocery store without your wallet or that laboriously prepared shopping-list. 

Turning up at the office on a Sunday. 

Walking out of your home all dressed up, just without pants! 

The last one has actually happened to me. Luckily, a gust of wind made me realise what I was doing before I stepped into the elevator and gave a bunch of people a free show. The weirdest part is that I had my shoes on- you have to be pretty oblivious to make a mistake like that.

Possible Cause & Solution- 

This type of behaviour can signify stress caused by a to-do list worthy of the gods. If you can’t remember the last time you got through the list without any mishap, you are clearly doing something wrong. You are trying to do too much in too little time. Slow down, pal! 

Exercise your right to say NO! I cannot emphasise this enough! Don’t try to be all things to all people, and don’t try to accomplish everything in one day. Be a little more realistic about your own abilities and expectations. 

Sometimes our stop-doing list needs to be bigger than our to-do list.

3) Constantly looking for an escape

Getting through work by clock watching.  Counting the days to your next holiday. Wishing the sun wouldn’t come up just so you can stay in bed. 

That’s no way to live life!

I like planning my travels. It is one of my favourite things to do, but it isn’t my way of getting away from life. A lot of people plan their travels so that they have something to look forward to. The daily grind shouldn’t suck to the extent that the only way you can get from one day to the other is by looking forward to something in the distant future.

Eventually, you’ll have to go back to the same world and what then!? 

Possible Cause & Solution- 

Looking for ways to get-away from the madness without actually acknowledging the madness is extremely unhealthy.

If you find yourself constantly finding ways to escape from reality by burying yourself in a good show, movie, travel or good old denial- it’s time to stop and re-evaluate things. It is a clear indication that your days are full of tasks that are tedious and boring to you. 

In an ideal world, we will only do things that set our soul on fire. Life doesn’t work that way, but there is a happy medium. We do the responsible bit by going to work every day and doing all our chores, and we enliven it by something fun here and there. 

Change the pace and break the monotony by adding little periods of fun throughout your day. Maybe start your day with a dance number or singing in the shower. Eat your lunch with some soothing music or rib-tickling comedy.

Maybe there is no such thing as an ideal life, but you can improve your current situation so, find ways to do just that. 

Add the things you love to each day. It’s simple enough to do. Once you start, you can build it from there.

4) Your body is barely keeping up with you

A very obvious but much-ignored sign is a tired body, that keeps succumbing to infections and sickness. A cold that keeps coming back. Constant body-ache. Sleeping like the exhausted and waking up tired. 

All of these are signs of a tired immune system, begging for some TLC! 

Possible Cause & Solution- 

This one doesn’t take a lot of thinking. If you are operating at a pace that precludes proper sleep and time for a wholesome meal, your body is going to suffer. You may be convinced that you’ll have the time to catch up later and make the healthier choices, but it never works out like that. Eventually, you’ll crumble with exhaustion and your body will force you into making wiser choices. 

So, slow down and plan better. Make time for sleep and proper meals. 

Carry snacks and fruits with you so that if you have to eat on the run, you have healthy options. 

Make friends with cat naps. They can turn your whole day around. Even 15 minutes of cat nap can make you feel a whole lot better. If you fall sick, get rest. The office will just have to get by without you. 

Make time for regular check-ups. Indulge in some self-care. Your body is your instrument. It is the one thing you need to achieve anything at all in life so, take better care of it.

5) Upset, disappointed loved ones

Once my career is on track, I’ll focus on my personal life. Does that sound familiar? 

We have all done this – sidelined our personal life to focus on our professional life. Except, the madness never stops, does it?

It’s this one thing and then it’s something else. You can’t stop and you shouldn’t, but ignoring your loved ones and their needs aren’t okay either. I mean, unless you are a human prize, they’re not gonna stick around for too much of this treatment. 

Possible Cause & Solution- 

We obsess over our professional lives when we lack confidence in ourselves. The fear that the whole world is our competition overwhelms us so much that we refuse to stop.

We have to keep fighting so that we don’t get left behind. This type of behaviour is also seen in people who crave control. Emotions are messy, but our work lives are structured and make sense even in tough times. 

Related: How to use an intentionally designed morning routine to handle anxiety?

In an attempt to add structure to our lives, we focus on our professional world to the exclusion of all else. 

But keeping your personal life and everyone in it waiting for when you have more time isn’t gonna work out very well for you. When you do pause to take stock, you’ll bitterly regret all the lost time that you could have spent creating memories with the people you love.

So, do yourself a favour and slow down. Revel in the all the love in your life. Make time for what really matters. Be AVAILABLE when your friends and family need you.

Even when it gets overwhelming and claustrophobic (as it does sometimes!), don’t bury yourself under work.

Just do your best, but make sure you are there for your people because when all the madness goes away and the only option is to stop, you are going to want these people around you. More than that, the guilt of not being there for those who genuinely cared could eat you alive. 

Every breath is a gift. cherish it as best as you can. Chase your ambitions, but not at the cost of your health and happiness. Allow yourself the time to grow and nurture a healthy soul. Everything else will fall into place. 

When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive - to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.

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Hi! I'm Krati Mehra

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I know what it’s like to fall apart and gradually put your pieces back together to build something better than what you had before and I share all my lessons in this space hoping that you will share my learnings without the struggle.

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