Time Out!

selective focus of sand clock, eyeglasses, smartphone and laptop on table in modern office

Busy work schedules, hectic home life, and social and financial responsibilities keep us all focused on things besides self-care. It is no wonder our society suffers heavily from anxiety, depression, obesity, and other stress-related health issues. When you do not make self-care a priority, it will not be long before you begin to feel the effects of being poorly maintained. When you are perpetually busy and go for a couple of months without self-care, here are some things you may notice.

Mood/Behavior Change

It may not be anything overt or significant at first. Subtle changes like being a “negative Nannie.” No matter what someone says, you see the bad. There are plenty of naturally pessimistic people, but we are talking about a person who has not previously displayed that type of behavior. Other moods to look out for are indifference, overanalyzing, anger, sadness, and indecisiveness. All can be indicators of an individual needing self-care.

Fatigue

Not the regular at the “end of the day” fatigue. We are talking about the fatigue you wake up with, keep all day, and that you still feel when you go to bed. Our sleep is affected when we feel overwhelmed and do not make healthy choices. Even when you can get in bed at a decent hour, sleep quality is problematic and leaves you tired when you awake.

Routine change

Previously, you went to the gym every morning, walked outside at lunchtime, and took a healthy lunch with you to work. Now your meal is from McDonald’s, which you eat at your desk at lunchtime and do not go to the gym. It is important that we can identify when we are experiencing a change, and trying to help ourselves be better and healthier is a part of self-care.

If you can identify a negative change in your behavior, mood, or overall health, there are a couple of things you must do immediately.

  1. See your primary care physician and have a physical. Let the doctor know what you are experiencing and allow them to ensure that you are medically sound.
  2. Find a way to take a break. A time out. It can be in the Bahamas for a few days or in your bedroom for 20 minutes. The point is you need to hit the reset button in order to be your best productive, healthy self. During this time out, you do not do any work. You do not grocery shop or problem solve household issues. You do not answer emails or phone calls. You simply “BE.” Participating in only leisure activities and completely ignoring everyone and everything else is important to do. Not only because you need the break but also because it is important to acknowledge that life continues even when you are not involved in it. Your kids will be fine at a family member’s house, your work team will figure things out, and your spouse will eat.

A Time-Out is nothing more than some space to be still. Be still and reflect on how you can bring more balance and calm to your life. When we are stressed and tired, it can be difficult to figure out where the imbalance lies and what to do about it. At that time, it becomes necessary to seek assistance from a professional. A therapist, pastor, sister, whomever you feel can help!

Taking regular brief Time-Outs can reduce the occurrence of fatigue as well as mood and behavior changes. Take care of yourself!

Dr. Kimberly VanBuren

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