Total happiness comes when we are able to take care of all three components of our lives: our minds, bodies, and spirits. But, with all our responsibilities and expectations, it’s only normal that something falls through the cracks!
Recognizing these 6 signs of neglect can help us identify what we need to more consciously nurture in order to maintain our happiness.
6 Signs of Neglect
- Easily Distracted/No Focus
- Can’t remember things
- Daily Headaches
- Abundance of negative thoughts
- Feeling a lack of purpose/direction
Any of those sound familiar? Better question might be, how many of those sound familiar? But, don’t beat yourself up over it. Taking care of ourselves is hard! Our lives are busy, and there is only so much time in the day for everything we wish we could do. It’s when the same things are consistently neglected, that our happiness really suffers.
Try isolating what are of your life is really suffering, and focus some self-love there.
Taking Care of Your Mind:
- Make Lists
- Don’t be afraid to say “no”
We’ve all walked into a room and forgotten what we went in there for. But it’s when we lose our focus no matter what we’re doing that we know our mental health is really suffering. This complete overwhelm is debilitating. The more we lose focus, the more tasks build up, the more overwhelmed we feel until we reach a breaking point that is usually accompanied by a lot of tears or anger.
So, how do we prevent the overwhelm meltdown? It all starts by recognizing our limits. That comes with accepting who we are and what we can and can’t do. It requires us to cut ourselves some slack, and surrender perfection. We would never demand perfection from someone else, stop demanding it from yourself!
For the daily distractions, the momentary confusion, consider the simple additions of meditation and list-making to your routine. Practicing everyday reflection is a great way to close your day. Not only do you wind your body down for the night through the quiet stillness, but you learn to accept your shortcomings. You are able to recognize patterns in your life that will help you not only prioritize your responsibilities (and self-imposed expectations), but also eliminate the superfluous. All of us could do with some pruning in our lives every now and then!
For the greater overwhelm, the key lies in learning to say no. Saying ‘no’ can take a lot of courage. It requires us to have enough self-respect to stop those who would push against our boundaries and limits—even when those “pushes” aren’t done maliciously. We have to value our own time and mental and emotional health as much as we would anyone else’s.
“Wielded wisely, ‘no’ is an instrument of integrity and a shield against exploitation.”Judith Stills
Taking care of your body:
- Eat right–stop making your meals your last priority
- Drink your veggies! (And plenty of water)
- Soak up that Vitamin D—get outside every day
- Find a way to exercise your body that is fun and invigorating.
- Slow down regularly
Stop listening to what everyone else says works for them and discover what works for you. I am not a runner. Even though I have tried, I know I am not a runner because I don’t have that cathartic euphoria after running that I have when I finish any other number of exercises. There are plenty of other things that work my body and make me feel unstoppable after finishing—that is what my body needs.
Listen to what your body is trying to tell you—and it is not telling you to binge-watch Netflix and eat a tub of ice cream. Trust me, that is the devil on your shoulder—your body will tell you “I told you NOT to do that” when you’re feeling achy, tired, and sick later. When your body feels like you could conquer anything standing in front of you, that even exhausted, you feel lighter, calmer, and clear-headed, that is your body communicating with you. Listen!
When it comes to food, stop making your meals your last priority. Your body is an engine—it will match what you put in with what it is capable of putting out. Don’t run on empty all day and then wait until you’re exhausted at the end of a long day to think about what you will eat for dinner. This is how we get sucked into the fast-food trap. Plan meals deliberately and in advance. If you’re finding it hard to squeeze in 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, consider juicing. There’s no easier way to fill your body with what it’s craving and replenish your energy than juicing every day.
The Fallacy of “Busyness”
We live in a society that encourages busyness without understanding that busyness does NOT equal productivity. Slowing down and allowing yourself to do nothing but sit quietly, or temporarily escape your routine is invigorating for not just your body, but your mind and spirit, too. If your life requires a detailed schedule, schedule in time to be nowhere and do nothing. Even the smallest break can refresh and replenish.
Taking care of your Spirit:
- Surround yourself with positivity
- Be the one to scatter sunshine
- Turn towards a higher power
- Consciously fight negative thoughts
- Remember who you are!
“Remember who you are and whose you are.”Thea Bowman
For me, this is the biggest tell that I am running on empty. My thoughts are often my biggest enemy, and I can use them as a “temperature gauge” for how well I’m taking care of myself. We don’t feel depressed, directionless, or like a failure overnight. These thoughts and emotions are manifested after we have been neglecting ourselves for a period of time.
Unfortunately, this course-correction might feel like pulling a tractor-trailer back onto the Daytona Speedway without power steering. It might take a day or two to get your spirit back up. Be deliberate with your efforts, but also gentle with yourself. We all get off track now and again.
Turn towards those who add light to your life and be honest that you aren’t feeling your best. Ask for help, or at least, time and understanding. And as always, seek out comfort, guidance, and protection from a higher power. God’s 80,000 foot perspective is much more trustworthy than our own, and He will guide you patiently towards what you need.
When you are again able to fight the darkness and remember your purpose, maintain your spiritual health by seeking out the good. If you spread light into the lives of others, it will reflect back into you. Remember, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Set a Goal
It is only when these three parts: our bodies, minds, and spirits are working optimally and in harmony with one another, can we truly be happy. Don’t suppose that because you are doing very well in tending to the needs of one, while ignoring the needs of another that you can live harmoniously. Eventually, the ailing attribute will cry out for help. Therefore, take time every day to nurture each.
You know yourself better than anyone else does. You know which strengths you will automatically take care of, and the weaknesses you may be tempted to deny attention. Whatever you are lacking, stop ignoring it, hoping the other aspects of your life will compensate. Seize the day, review the list below, and make a goal for yourself.
You owe it to yourself, and your happiness will be your reward.