The other day my car light started blinking, letting me know that I was running out of gas or, to be more precise, that I was at 25% tank capacity. So, of course, my attention started to focus on finding a gas station soon so that I could fuel up. I didn’t rush to a gas station right away though. It usually takes a few days of me seeing the blinking light before I do anything about it…but it kept reminding me that I needed to fill up before the car stopped.
Switch to a different view: 2022 for me was a difficult year – filled with lots of overwork, family events/complications to be sorted out, and new business responsibilities all competing for my attention. By May, I was already running ragged and in need of re-charging. I knew I was tired, my friends and family told me to slow down, my body started giving signs.
Nevertheless, I kept going.
As a result, in the last 4 months of last year I was unwell and kept getting sick all the time – I had 3 rounds of antibiotics afters years of not having to take any. I had to take cortico-steroids. I had prolonged periods of sheer exhaustion and brain fog.
And still, I didn’t stop.
Until I just could not function anymore. I physically could not go on and get things done, not even daily “living” tasks.
At that point, I was forced to literally cancel everything, and take myself to a two-week retreat – sun, yoga, meditation and NO WIFI, calls, or internet . I started to sleep 7 hours straight at night, I started walking, “day dreaming” and reconnecting with myself…
And the world didn’t end: My family was fine. My clients were fine.
As I go back to work, at a slower pace, I am surrounded by friends, colleagues, clients who are tired, overworked and under-nourished (energy wise). And I ask myself: what can we do to get a better warning system – one that we will pay attention to, since we are not so great at listening to the ones we already have? What will cause the “blinking” light to make our own well-being and health the priority of our radars and help us move from simple intent,
to actual action? For me, it’s pre-programming breaks into my schedule, where I take time to spend in nature and travel. I am also scheduling in reading time and time for idle coffees with friends. I am putting limits on my email time and screen time.
I am not sure what will work best for me yet, it’ll take some trial and error. But the point is we need to find ways notice and then pay attention to the ways our bodies and minds tell us we need a break.
What are your early warning signals? As always, I would love to hear from you.
All the best,