As an orthomolecular nutritionist and mindfulness coach who used to struggle with a truckload of serious issues herself, I often work with people who are at their wit's end in one way or the other: blue moods, disordered eating, vague health troubles, skin issues — you name it.
But because most of us are so good at ignoring warning signs, we tend to only start thinking about doing things differently once our issues have ballooned into that big black cloud right above our head.
So how do you know that you’re starting to steer yourself in the wrong direction?
Here are six signs you're not taking your health seriously enough — and need to start taking action now.
1. You're all work and no play.
Don't get me wrong, I work like a dog myself.
But running at high speed every day of every week, regularly hustling until late at night, scheduling meetings during the weekends, and coming up with excuses to avoid taking a vacation — that's just more than your body can take.
My tip as a self-employed eager beaver: Prepare a realistic to-do list with tomorrow's tasks, and really switch off your laptop at the end of the day.
And if paring back your schedule just isn't feasible for you right now, try one of the methods I myself use to stay healthier and stress-free at work:
- Get a flexible work station and stand as much as possible. Sitting all day is extremely detrimental to your health.
- While reading emails or talking on the phone, regularly stretch your body or walk in place. (According to my wearable, I "walked" almost 5,000 steps just while writing this article!)
- Download an app that reminds you to drink a big glass of water every hour to help your body flush out junk.
Sometimes we have to work hard, no doubt. But every step into the right direction counts!
2. You're taking care of everyone except yourself.
I'm not going to lie: This is a tough one for me, too. As a natural born "giver,” I find it hard to put myself first, especially since I have two toddlers who gladly take 5 miles when I give them an inch.
On the other hand, as a highly sensitive person, I’ve learned that nourishing my body and soul is vital to my well-being.This is why I take high-quality mindful mini breaks whenever I get a chance:
- Some deep, cleansing breaths while standing at a traffic light.
- A 5-minute yoga exercise or a cup of detox tea away from the computer.
- A guided meditation in bed before I go to sleep.
Of course, the ratio of care we have to provide for others vs. ourselves depends on our unique living situations. If extensive daily self-love rituals are not realistic for you right now, keep in mind that quality is more important than quantity.
3. You think that meditation or yoga are “just not for you."
This might sound funny but I know a lot of people who feel this way, either because they cannot connect with a certain "image" or "lifestyle," or because they feel “too busy.”
But here's the thing: You can do anything your way!
If you don't want to practice yoga in a group gathering in a park at the crack of dawn wearing baggy clothes, then don't. If you'd feel weird "oming" or simply don't want to free-up your schedule for half an hour of daily meditation — just try something that realistically works for you.
For example, I often practice yoga wearing jeans while my kids are watching TV right next to me. Or, I use one of my daughter's plastic bead necklaces to meditate: When I’m feeling stressed-out, I sit down, close my eyes and start breathing slowly. With every breath in or out, I let the beads glide through my hands, which is incredibly calming to me.
Am I doing it like a pro? Hardly. But it totally works for me!
4. You don't do detoxes because you're afraid you'll have to live on juice alone.
I get it. With all the crazy cleanses out there, detoxing doesn't sound particularly sexy. But who said you need to follow a program, sip on magic potions, or starve yourself?
Detoxing is about helping your body get rid of junk running through your system. In my case, it significantly raises my energy levels, clears both brain fog and my skin, helps me sleep better and boosts my mood.
And detoxing doesn't just have to be about juice cleanses. Start with these easy daily hacks, like beginning your morning with a glass of birch sap or oil pulling.
5. You think that sleep is overrated.
Of course, we all need a night out every now and then, and Netflix's call to watch "just one more" episode of our favorite TV series can be oh so tempting.
What really did the trick for me? Tracking my sleep with the same wearable that counts my steps. I couldn't have a better accountability partner!
6. You have a kitchen you never use.
Sure, eating out seems more hassle-free than dealing with grocery shopping and pots and pans. But preparing your own meals comes with even better benefits, namely:
- Having fun, especially when you're cooking with family or friends
- Providing self-care by serving both wildly delicious and highly nutritious dishes
- Practicing mindfulness
- Detoxing your body from the junk many restaurants sneak into their dishes
The bottom line: As I always tell my clients, a healthy lifestyle and feeling and looking great isn't "all or nothing.”
It's about taking the steps to find something that realistically works for you.
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