When we’re little, we’re totally in tune with what’s going on with our bodies. If we’re tired, we take a nap. If we get the flu, we’re happy to stay home from school and rest. But as we get older, we learn to “tough it out” and “power through” feeling bad because that’s what grownups do.
While I know you do have to power through in some circumstances (I can’t miss a big presentation at work just because I have a headache or I’m sleepy), I do try to listen more and more to the signals my body’s giving me and pay attention to them when I can. Because if you work in tune with your body, things are so much better.
For instance, I’ve been getting the worst headaches over the past couple weeks. They weren’t like the sinus headaches I get sometimes, they were achy and right behind my eyes, and they always struck midway through the work day. It’s been kind of hectic in my office lately with some big projects due, so I just figured it was stress and too much time in front of the computer. Then I went for my annual eye exam yesterday, and I learned my contact prescription needed to be seriously strengthened.
I’ll have to see what happens when my new contacts come in, but I’m willing to bet my headaches will go away. Random headaches were how my parents realized I needed glasses as a kid…the same kind of headaches, that came right in the middle of the school day. If I’d been paying attention to my body instead of popping Tylenol and powering through, I might have made this connection.
Way too often, we ignore the signs our bodies are giving us
We go to work even when we’re deathly sick because we want to prove that we’re a trooper…even though it just makes our illness last longer and gets everyone else in the office sick.
We push ourselves late into the night when our bodies are screaming that we need to get some rest.
We eat way more than our body needs because we don’t know how to recognize when we’re full.
We ignore signs of stress like headaches, tight shoulders, and clenched jaws and pop a pill instead of trying to figure out how to reduce the stress in the first place.
Our bodies are trying to tell us what we need to do to take care of them, but we’re not listening…or refusing to do anything if we are. And that’s not good for business. While it’s necessary sometimes to tough it out and push through discomfort, more often than not we should acknowledge when our body is trying to tell us something. It knows better than we do.
How have you been feeling lately? Are you missing any important signals?
photo credit: Eric Havir