Do you ever feel like you’re in non-stop hustle mode? We all go through periods when we’re crazy busy and feel like we’re constantly hustling to get it all done, but how do you know when it’s time to slow down and allow yourself some REST?
You may have noticed that I didn’t publish a blog post last week. Thing is, I’ve been operating in hustle mode for weeks on end and I’m feeling the effects. In this post, I’ll tell you about some of the signs I saw with myself and how I knew I needed to slow down.
If any of you are feeling this way, I hope you’ll also recognize it’s time to slow down and REST.
Hustle Mode On
Although I went into summer looking forward to the warm weather and laid back vibe, so far it’s been hustle mode on for me.
Despite accepting that I’d have to put some of my business initiatives on hold and have less time for myself since I’d be caring for my kids full time, I still had the illusion that I’d get to relax a bit.
I even wrote a blog post full of tips on how to keep your sanity as a stay-at-home-mom over summer break and I’ve been following all of them! But still……the struggle is real.
In addition to being a full time caretaker this summer and a mama who is trying to get a newly launched blog and business off the ground, I also find myself in the position of having to assume the “project manager” role in the sale of the house I grew up in and relocation of my mom to a new home.
Needless to say, it’s been non-stop hustle mode for a while now and I recently realized that it might be time to give myself some grace and slow down. It seems I’m not handling hustle mode as well as I’d like….
5 Warning Signs You Need to Slow Down and REST
I’m sure you’ve heard analogies regarding the importance of “filling your cup” or “refueling your tank” in relation to self-care and rest so as to avoid burnout, but it can be hard to know when you’re getting close to that point.
We don’t have an automatic “fuel tank low” indicator light that will go off when we’re getting close to empty like a car does, but similar to a car, we also cannot go full speed ahead on the highway without eventually stalling out if we don’t refuel at certain points.
So what are some of the warning signs that you’re running out of fuel? Below are 5 indicators I saw within myself:
1.) Fun started to feel like too much effort
One of the first signs I noticed was that things that I would normally look forward to started to feel like too much effort.
I will give you a somewhat embarrassing example here –
You might say that I still have an admittedly unhealthy obsession with my favorite childhood boyband, the “New Kids on the Block”. Many months ago, I bought tickets for their summer concert tour and relentlessly hounded my friends about it until I finally managed to convince a few to accompany me to the concert.
As the concert date approached on the calendar, I realized that I wasn’t even excited to go! I had been looking forward to this concert for months and now I was feeling stressed out thinking about coordinating who would drive, what time we’d need to leave, when I’d have to cook dinner, and all the simple logistics of what was supposed to be an exciting and fun night out.
Something that would normally bring me so much joy suddenly felt like it was too much effort. I was lumping it in with all my other “to-do’s”.
2.) To-do list was running my life
I’ve been using the Todoist app for a while now to help me plan out my week to be productive and keep track of all my tasks. I get a certain satisfaction from checking off completed tasks and it definitely helps me feel less overwhelmed to have a running list of my priorities with due dates right there on my phone.
BUT lately, my to-do list has been running my life! I’ve had a number of social engagements over the past few weeks that I’ve canceled, pushed back, or flat out rejected because well, there just didn’t seem to be enough time in my to-do list.
Afterall, there is only so much time in the day, right? I’ve been so focused on all the tasks that needed to be checked off that I wasn’t making space for the other areas of my life. This included time with friends, reading, exercising, and even basic grooming! (You should see my toes….I am in desperate need of a pedicure )
With all the advice I dish out on the importance of prioritizing self-care, I haven’t been doing a very good job of it myself as of late. This was a major sign that I needed to hit the pause button on hustle mode.
Sometimes you have to stop and take a hard look at your to-do list and what you’re prioritizing so as to make sure you’re not completely sacrificing other important areas of your life.
3.) Body was manifesting stress
We all carry stress and anxiety mentally, emotionally, and physically. Most of us hold stress in a particular part of our bodies like in the jaw, head, neck, shoulders, or stomach.
When I feel stressed or anxious, I almost always feel a tightening in my throat. This is my body signaling to me. Needless to say, I’ve been feeling this tightening in my throat very often in the past few weeks.
Being aware of where you hold stress, can help you manage it in a mindful way. However, keep in mind that although your body may be manifesting signs that you need to slow down and rest, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you need physical rest, like sleep. More on that below….
4.) Constantly “tired”
Another indication that I needed to hit the pause button on hustle mode was that I’d been feeling constantly “tired”. I put “tired” in quotes because I haven’t actually been physically tired; rather it is a feeling of mental exhaustion.
I get adequate sleep and I wake up energized in the morning, but as I’ve been going through my day, I have a constant feeling of overwhelm and exhaustion.
I feel like I’m constantly running and I can’t catch up, rushing from one thing to the next. Still there is always something more that needs to get done and I have a million things on my mind all day long.
5.) Lack of focus and extra forgetful
Anyone else feel like if you don’t write it down, you’ll never remember to do it? That is usually how I am in general, but it’s been kind of extreme lately.
A thought of something I need to do pops into my head and less than a minute later it’s gone. I struggle to recall what it was with little success.
I’ve also been unfocused and will start a task, get distracted by something, and then completely forget that I didn’t finish what I was doing.
I’ve even been having trouble remembering if I’ve completed tasks I needed to do.
Last night I put in a load of laundry with the intention of letting the dryer run after I went to bed and folding it in the morning. Well this morning, I went to fold said laundry and I found it had already been folded and put away. Turns out my husband had done it while I was sleeping, but I literally spent no less than 5 minutes seriously contemplating if and when I had folded that load of laundry myself!
Let’s not talk about how many times in the past few weeks I’ve misplaced my phone and upon finding it had no recollection of leaving it there in the first place!
7 Types of Rest
These were some of the signs I saw within myself, but self-awareness is only the first step in giving yourself the rest you need.
Once you realize that it’s time to take a break and allow yourself to rest, it’s important to assess which type of rest you need. Maybe you only need rest in certain areas or maybe you need all of it!
After reading this article on the 7 types of rest, I’ve realized that I’m operating at a deficit in mental and social rest and probably a little bit when it comes to sensory rest too.
Which type of rest do you need?
Signs that you need more physical rest could be body aches and pain. It could be sore muscles, swollen ankles, or becoming physically ill with a cold or worse.
Solution: Allow yourself passive rest (i.e. sleeping), as well as active rest by engaging in restorative activities like stretching, yoga, or getting a massage.
If you need mental rest like me, you might be struggling with focus, concentration, and/or recall like I described above. Or maybe your mind won’t stop racing when you go to sleep at night and you’re finding it really difficult to quiet all the thoughts zipping around in your brain.
Solution: Take short breaks throughout the day, try journaling, and/or keeping a notepad on hand or use the notes section of your phone to jot down any thoughts that are nagging at you.
An emotional rest deficit comes from carrying a lot of emotional baggage and not feeling like you’re able to truly express your emotions.
Solution: Give yourself time and space to express your feelings and be authentic in your response when loved ones ask how you’re doing. Cry if you need to!
Those of us who struggle with needing social rest may not have healthy boundaries and feel like we’re constantly giving to others and not getting enough back in return. This can be in your relationships with loved ones, friends, coworkers, etc.
I’ve caught myself feeling like I can never just “get a minute for myself” lately. Somebody else’s needs always seem to be more pressing.
Solution: Reevaluate your boundaries and try surrounding yourself with positive and supportive people.
If you are needing more spiritual rest, you’re likely searching for more meaning in your life. Maybe you have not yet found what it is you’re passionate about or you’re longing to feel a greater sense of belonging and purpose in the world around you.
Solution: Try meditation, community service, spending time in nature, or other ways to enhance your sense of belonging and connection with the greater good.
A deficit in the area of sensory rest happens when our senses get overwhelmed by loud or multiple conversations, bright lights, computer screens, or too much background noise.
You might feel this way after a day of zoom calls or spending time in an overstimulating environment like a crowded amusement park.
Solution: Add screen-free blocks of time into your day, take a break from social media, practice breathing exercises or other mindfulness activities that help to center you.
If you are having trouble problem-solving, coming up with new ideas, feel creatively blocked or uninspired, you probably need creative rest.
Solution: Engage in an activity that allows you to appreciate beauty – in nature, art, music, poetry, etc. Seek out things that evoke awe and inspire you.
Are you operating in constant hustle mode?
It’s hard to know when you need to slow down and rest, especially in our culture which holds work and productivity above all else and encourages a hustler mentality in order to get ahead in life.
We fall into the mindset that we need to constantly “go-go-go” and wind up feeling like we’re always running, but still never accomplishing enough.
This can certainly be tiring, overwhelming and dangerous if you’re not able to find a healthy balance for yourself. I hope this post will help you start to recognize some of the signs within yourself and at least try to slow down and allow for some rest.
Interested in more ideas for self-care and wellness?
Take a break with a Self-Care Saturday. This post has 50 Super Simple Ideas for Self Care Saturdays you can try.
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Carly is a wife, mom, and former fashion industry executive turned blogger, who is on a journey to live life as the best version of herself. Through her website, littlevoicebigmatter.com, she shares practical advice and heartfelt insights to inspire and support women in motherhood, relationships, wellness, and life.