Ten Surprising Signs You Need Self-Care

signs you need self-care

If you find yourself experiencing any of these signs you need self-care, you need to stop and take some time for yourself. Sometimes we get so focused on taking care of tasks that need to be completed and the other people around us that we literally stop paying attention to ourselves. But if you find yourself engaging in any of these behaviors, pay attention! These behaviors indicate that you’re spreading yourself too thin and you need to take a little time and focus on yourself and what you need for a bit.

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I’m a huge fan of Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project and Better than Before and I like to check her blog from time to time. A post she wrote a few years back resonated with me so much that I remember it still. I found it and reread it today: Do You Know Your “Tell?” And the Comfort Food for Your Brain?

Gretchen talks in the post about learning to read her behavior for clues about how she’s feeling. Like so many of us, she can become so busy and distracted that she stops paying attention to how she’s feeling. She won’t even realize that she’s, for example, feeling anxious until she finds herself engaging in comfort-seeking behavior. She calls this behavior her “tell,” a gambling term that means a change in behavior that reveals your inner state.

Gretchen likes to reread books she loved when she was younger and I loved the post because I do the same thing. During one recent particularly stressful summer, I reread the entire Little House series. I was pretty deep into the Narnia books before fall came along and the situation resolved.

As women in midlife, we’re spread so thin. We spend our morning taking our aging parents to the doctor and our afternoon taking our college-bound son to SAT tutoring. At some point during the day, we’re working, and at night we’re making sure everyone has dinner. We don’t have time to even think about ourselves.

Ten Surprising Signs You Need Self-Care 1

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And yet, we still need to take time now and then for a bit of self-care because if we don’t, we’ll burn out. We need to learn to read our own “tell,” our sign that we need to stop and take some time for self-care.

If you find yourself engaging in any of the following ten behaviors, it’s probably time to stop and ask yourself if you need to take some time for self-care. I include a few sample ideas for self-care that I want you to take advantage of right now!

Ten Surprising Signs You Need Self-Care - It's not selfish to love yourself, take care of yourself, and to make your happiness a priority. It's necessary.

1. Every Day Feels the Same

When someone asks you if the meeting last week was on Tuesday or Wednesday, you can’t remember, because honestly, what was the difference between Tuesday and Wednesday anyway. Schedule some time into every day that makes you smile or schedule an activity this week that you can look forward to.

Ten Surprising Signs You Need Self-Care - Whether it's a workout, cooking for yourself, stretching, or sleeping extra, don't underestimate the power of self-care. Put yourself first or else you're going to burn out and not be able to take care of others.

2. You Drag Your Feet Getting Out of Bed

How many times are you hitting the snooze button in the morning? If it’s more than two, you need a reason to want to get up. When was the last time you met a friend for lunch?

Ten Surprising Signs You Need Self-Care - It's not selfish to take time for yourself. If you take a little time for yourself, you will actually be much better company for those around you.

3. You Look in the Mirror and You Don’t Like What You See

Is that because you’re not taking care of yourself or because you’ve lost touch with who you really are? Take some time for yourself to get to the heart of the matter. Maybe you need a new haircut or perhaps you need to spend some time getting to get to know yourself again.

Ten Surprising Signs You Need Self-Care - Beauty and grooming should be these gorgeous bursts of wind beneath your wings so you can figure out how to feel a little cuter and look in the mirror and get those endorphins and be like, 'I feel good!'

4. You Always Feel Like You’re Coming Down with a Cold

Girl, you need some rest! Take a sick day and watch TV all day.

Ten Surprising Signs You Need Self-Care - Netflix should add the category "Sorry There Are No More Episodes of Bake-Off and Queer Eye, You're Clearly Going Through Some Stuff, Here Are Some Other Soothing Shows with People Being Nice to Each Other over Low-Stakes Things"
@fleurdeliqueur on Twitter

If you need recommendations on what to watch, check out the thread the quote above came from on Twitter. Tons of great ideas!

5. You Find Yourself Competing for “Who’s Got it Worse.”

When you’re talking with friends, co-workers, your spouse, all your stories are somehow about how hard you work and how bad you have it. Find a hobby that excites you so much you become that annoying person who can’t stop talking about that thing she loves. 

Ten Surprising Signs You Need Self-Care - Ten Surprising Signs You Need Self-Care - Self-care isn't always oils and baths. Sometimes it is seeing who you are and giving yourself permission to be. It is setting boundaries and saying no. Self-love is knowing your worth and not having guilt about doing you.

6. You’re Envious of Other People

If you’re jealous when something good happens to someone else or when anyone has fun, it’s because you feel like there are not enough fun, good things in your life. There is a time and place for retail therapy, my friends, and this is it. Go buy yourself a little something. Is this an extreme case? Plan a vacation.

Ten Surprising Signs You Need Self-Care - You Can't Pour from an Empty Cup. Take Care of Yourself First.

7. You’re Distracted and Forgetful

You’re telling yourself that you’re going crazy or that it’s the beginning of dementia. Still, I’m telling you that it’s this: you’re trying to remember too much. Make someone else do carpool duty and go get your nails done.

Ten Surprising Signs You Need Self-Care - Trust that it's okay to put your needs first. You deserve to take care of yourself.

8. You’re Too Hard on Yourself

Honey, don’t tell yourself things like you’re going crazy or that you’re showing signs of early dementia! Learn to show yourself some compassionAlso, leave work early and walk up and down the aisles of Target, admiring all the pretty things.

Ten Surprising Signs You Need Self-Care - Practicing self-love means learning how to trust ourselves, to treat ourselves with respect, and to be kind and affectionate toward ourselves.

9. It’s Like, Whatever, Sure, OK

If you’ve become so apathetic that you agree to anything anyone asks you, please consider this the ultimate sign that you need to take some time for self-care. You’ve just stopped caring and that means you’ve stopped caring about yourself. Self-care, in this case, looks like a serious conversation where you evaluate your priorities and see what needs to change.

Ten Surprising Signs You Need Self-Care - Speak up for what you deserve. I promise you, you won't regret it.

10. You’d Be OK if Everyone Else Weren’t so Annoying

I hear you. And I want you to know that you’re right. It is them, it’s definitely not you. You need to get away from them for a while. Take all the time you need. Put the knife down.

I hope this made you smile, but the need for self-care isn’t a joke. If you start feeling any of these signs, do remember to take some time for yourself and take care of yourself. You’re important and you deserve to treat yourself that way.

Ten Surprising Signs You Need Self-Care - canceling plans is ok. staying home to cook is ok. disappearing for a bit to get your life together is ok. resurfacing in a foreign country with a new name 10 years later is ok. it's called self care
@KevinFarzad on Twitter

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