It’s a normal evening at our house; dinner is in the oven, my spouse is doing some prep work, and our kid is occupying themselves in their bedroom. It’s not uncommon for me to be reading on the couch or folding clothes in the bedroom when my partner or child comes in to ask me a question or make a noise. My thoughts turn into a string of uuuugggghhhhh sounds as my adrenaline levels spike.

My Body is Telling Me That I Need to Take Some Time for Myself

As a mother, a partner, and a woman in today’s society, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut of continually putting other people’s needs before your own. However, it is also crucial that we look after ourselves. This may need you to take some time away from your usual routine.

We Risk Mental and Physical Exhaustion if We Don’t Take Care of Ourselves From Time to Time

Thankfully, I can now recognize the signals that I am overexerting myself. The following is a list of the top five indicators that my physique and mind give me that it’s time for some alone time, and the steps I take to make sure I’m taking care of myself when that time comes.

Nothing Seems Entertaining Any Longer

When things stop sounding fun, that’s one of the first signs that I need some alone time. Sometimes I find myself moaning to myself about how bored I am, or putting off creative endeavors that I might otherwise enjoy. It’s as if my soul needs a rest before it can embark on any endeavour that will need it to use its creative faculties. If I start to feel this way, I know it’s time to treat myself to a “me date.” It may be as easy as grabbing a cup of tea and surfing Pinterest for inspiration as going to the library and wasting an hour there.

Whenever I Need to Re-ignite My Imagination, All It Takes is Some Quiet Time and a Fresh Source of Inspiration

Second, I know I’m an emotional eater because I crave ALL the foods I know to be bad for me. So, when I have an overwhelming desire to eat all the goodies in the house, I know it’s time to take stock of my mental state.

When I Crave Anything Salty or Sweet, It’s Usually Because I’m Trying to Mentally Check Out Through My Stomach

When I’m feeling overwhelmed, I’ll admit it to myself and draw a hot bath while bringing a book and some food. Sometimes I have to stop and ask myself what I need, and it turns out to be nothing more than a large glass of water with a slice of lemon in it and some peace on the back porch.

I Can’t Handle the Minor Stresses

Usually, I am quite good at handling several different tasks at once without losing my cool. But there are moments when even minor challenges seem insurmountable. Perhaps I’m in the middle of making dinner when I realise I’m lacking an ingredient and I’m too stressed out to come up with a solution. Or I leave the store without shampoo and cry because I feel so stupid.

When I find that I am unable to deal with these things as they come up, I know that I have taken on too much and need to give myself a break. It’s a nice time for me to relax and pamper myself. Some examples are:

  • I’m giving myself a hard dose of reality. Is everything going to hell because of this?
  • Identifying whether or not my essential requirements are being satisfied. Should I eat? Should I get a drink of water?
  • Could I get some relief from lying down?
  • Putting out a call for aid. If my partner is going out, I might ask them to pick some shampoo for me.
  • If I can get help with a few of these minor details, I’ll have more time to devote to self-care and recharging.

I Get Short With My Loved Ones

I like to think of myself as a patient person. Therefore, I know something is wrong when even the little sound my child makes annoys me or when my partner asks me a question and I become irritated. My family and I have a phrase we use when I catch myself becoming irritable around them: “self-imposed timeout.” This is for the rare occasions when one of us has had it up to here and needs to step away for a while.

When I need to take a few deep breaths and center myself, I retire to my bedroom and do something grounding, like rub a smooth stone or smell some essential oils. For a few minutes, I might pet the cat or play a game on my phone. During this time, I’ll also consider what I truly require. When I’m ready to start talking to people again, I’ll explain why I became angry. If it’s my kid or my significant other, I’ll explain what happened and ask for what I need.

I Need to Go Into My Room, or the Bathroom, or the Closet, and Hide

I’ve snuck into the loo with my phone more than once, not because I had to go, but because I wanted some peace. By forcing me to physically separate from my loved ones, my body is conveying the message that I require more time spent alone. 

I know it’s time to get away when I do this or feel the want to lock myself in the bedroom (for reasons other than the aforementioned self-imposed break). I think I’ll grab my calendar and see when I can fit in a lunch date with just me. Alternatively, I may approach my significant other about arranging a short weekend trip for me. Whenever I go through these periods of reflection, I always come back to a better mother, partner, and version of myself.

By Being Aware of the Warning Indicators, You Can Start Your Self-care

I am not taking proper care of myself, as evidenced by all of these symptoms. If I notice these feelings emerging, I can practice some self-care techniques. There are many things I can do to refresh my body and mind, from taking a long bath with a good book or walking with a buddy to taking a break from my family for a few days. Even if your warning signs differ from mine, it will be easier to care for yourself if you know what they are and how to treat them.