Time for a healthy lifestyle? Check these seven signs!

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Go, Go, Go! We’re all in an incredible hurry and trying to fit our lives into a hysterical schedule. A moment for yourself? That’s often forgotten. But what are the signs that your body and mind are getting overworked? And that you should really start taking better care of yourself?

Unhealthy, overworked lifestyle

Can you see it in your mind’s eye? You’re walking down the street, checking the time and the messages that keep pouring in. You’re in a panic, and you almost bump into someone you know. With genuine interest, they ask how you are doing. You chatter away about being ‘busy, busy, busy’ before dashing off again like Speedy Gonzales.

Keeping all the balls in the air

Do you feel bad about yourself in moments like that? Probably not. We live in a society where ‘being busy’ is a synonym for a well-spent, useful life. We praise each other when we open up our laptops late at night, nod in agreement when others talk about ‘keeping all of the balls in the air’, and proudly boast about how well we function on less than six hours of sleep. Between work, children, and household chores, we still manage to find the time to look fabulous at parties and maintain a vibrant social life.

That’s good? Right. A healthy lifestyle? Not really. Because if we let ourselves get caught up in the rat race, we put ourselves and our health second. We keep our chins up because we don’t want to feel inferior to others; but, in the meantime, we’re downing loads of paracetamol and regularly falling asleep while checking our email for the umpteenth time at eleven o’clock at night. Only to wake up in a daze three hours later and begin to worry about the day to come.

Not worth the pat on the back

Stress and exhaustion are not worth the pat on the back. They’re not signs of a highly successful life. They are signs that you’re well on your way to burn-out. This is bad news not only for all of the goals you’ve set for yourself, but above all for your physical and mental health.

Stress can trigger a significant number of health issues. Those include physical complaints such as headaches, stomach aches, trouble sleeping, weight fluctuations, and decreased sex drive as well as mental complaints such as depression, aggression, and low self-esteem.

What’s stress? Nothing more than a physical reaction to perceived threats. Your nervous system responds to the threat by releasing a tidal wave of stress hormones, allowing you to react more quickly. Useful if you were being attacked by a predator prehistoric times but less so in this day and age. Our brains still have the same response when we hear a ‘rustling in the bushes’; however, the roaring sabretooth tiger has been replaced with a constant flow of texts, emails, and smartphone pings. That means we’re always alert and always ‘on’.

Seven signs of an overburdened life

A busy lifestyle like that has consequences—a lack of sleep, chronic stress, and unfortunately low libido, to name a few.

But how do you know you’ve got a one-way ticket to Stressville in your pocket? We’ve put together a list of seven signs that could indicate that you’re not taking good care of yourself. Do you recognize one or more of these signs in your own life? Well then, it might be time to make some healthy changes in your daily life.

1: You have trouble sleeping

Do you lie awake at night, tossing and turning, thinking about all the things you still have to do? If you have trouble falling asleep, it’s often stress-related. The nerve signals keep rushing through your body, and you’re not capable of ending your day properly.

This can be annoying because sleep is an essential component of your overall health. A chronic lack of sleep is often associated with depression, heart problems, memory problems, and poor judgment. If you experience trouble sleeping over a long period of time, it should come as no surprise that it will influence how well you function and your sense of well-being during the day.

Speak to your doctor if you notice you’re not sleeping well, have trouble falling asleep, or are always tired. A disturbed sleep rhythm is not as innocent as you might think.

2: You’re always angry and irritated

Well, yeah. People who don’t sleep are often not the most fun to be around during the day. Continuous stress also has a big influence on your mood. Do you often feel like you’re lagging behind? And do you take that out on the people around you? Of course, we’re all human, and we all feel frustrated if things don’t go the way we want at times. But, if you’re quick to freak out over a little mistake or an innocent remark, it is often not others that are to blame.

If you always feel restless and irritated inside, it’s a bad sign. It shows you’re not capable of dealing with the minor setbacks that are a part of life in a normal way. Try to pay attention if your mood is constantly balancing on the edge and be aware that people who feel good about themselves don’t just lash out at others over nothing. Quite the opposite, they treat others with the same compassion they treat themselves. Self-love, that’s where it starts.

3: Do nothing? Nope, not an option!

Being active is healthy, but sometimes it seems like you are addicted to work, to the hustle and bustle. You feel useful when you’re busy and getting things done, and you panic when you see an empty schedule. You even pack your weekend with plans, and when you take the day off, you feel guilty about it.

You regard doing nothing as something negative, but it isn’t. Your body and mind need the time and space to recharge. There’s a reason it’s considered healthy for children to ‘get bored’. It means that new energy and new creativity are being tapped into. The same goes for you. If you’re busy all the time, you’ll run yourself ragged, and you’ll become unbalanced.

Your body and mind need the time and space to recharge.

So, try to ‘relax’ a bit more and rest. Mindlessly stare out of your window, spend some time in a sauna or read a book. Do you like to exercise and is that what you do to relax? Go for a walk in the woods, but leave your smartphone and headphones at home. Instead, concentrate on the sounds and smells around you—the wind in your hair, the smell of mud, the chirping of birds in the treetops. You get where we are going with this.

4: You have a constant string of physical complaints

A splitting headache, a bloated or painful stomach, and feeling rushed. If you don’t take good care of yourself, and stress gets the better of you, it will inevitably result in physical complaints. You might not even feel that sick, but with these aches and pains, your body is trying to tell you you’re on the wrong path, which is not something you solve with a daily dose of painkillers. You solve it by making healthy changes in your life.

Stress is disastrous for both your body and mind, especially if you also eat unhealthily and spend your days behind the keyboard. The good news? You can take care of your body and live a more balanced life. This means a healthy routine, a healthy diet, sufficient exercise, and enough rest.

Oh yeah, and cutting back on smartphone use a little also does wonders.

5: You’re always late

Your mind is overflowing with all of the things you still need to do, and you try and do it all in an extremely short amount of time. It makes sense that you and the clock are not the best of friends. After all, you hardly have enough time. The result? You end up running from one meeting to the next and are almost always running a bit late. Your lack of time brings even more stress into your life, and before you know it, you’re stuck in an endless loop of rushing around and running late.

Do you recognize this? Then it’s probably time for you to take on a little bit less work. Take a critical look at your schedule and think about how many meetings you can really fit in one day. Next, try to stop asking so much from yourself, and do put off till tomorrow what could be done today. Your time is valuable and limited. It isn’t healthy to plan too much into one day, taking on too much work and driving yourself crazy till you are boiling over with stress.

6: You hardly ever cook

You don’t have to be a master chef, but alarm bells should go off if you find yourself sitting down every day with a take-away meal from your local kebab shop. Even worse is when you scarf down your dinner while still checking your emails. Not only are you not even tasing your food, you’re also still ‘on’ at a time when you should be taking it easy.

Healthy, fresh food is important, just like taking the time to prepare such a meal and eating it. Do you hardly ever take the time to cook for yourself? Then take a good look at your schedule and scratch things that aren’t necessary. Or block your schedule from a specific time every day. Even if you only do that a few days a week, it will make a world of difference. It’s important to allow yourself time to take care of your body and savour every nutritious bite you take.

7: Low libido

Well, after a long day of work, stress, and putting out fires, sex will be the last thing on your mind. Especially if you also have a couple of kids running around who are screaming for your attention, excuse us: asking for your attention. In this situation, low sex drive is totally normal, especially during the hard days.

But if your libido has been running on empty for a while already, a bit of extra attention couldn’t hurt. A desire for sex arises when you’re relaxed and have the time to pay attention to each other and can surrender to the moment. Are you constantly stressed? Then you don’t think about sex. Even worse, sex becomes just another stress factor: something you have to do when you’re already under a lot of pressure.

A healthy sex drive begins with a healthy mind. A libido that deflates like a balloon shows that something’s gone pear-shaped—time to come to grips with your own rat race.

Did you know that by using mindful masturbation, you could give your libido a boost? You’ll also learn how to become calmer and less stressed in life. Read about it here!


Be kind to yourself

Unfortunately, we aren’t always aware of these signs. Or rather: we bury our heads in the sand when we hear these alarm bells ring. In our stressed little lives, ‘me time’ is the last thing on our minds.

Pinging smartphone

But, being constantly tired, having physical problems we don’t want to complain about, and cortisol levels that go through the roof as soon as we hear our smartphones pinging isn’t ‘the new normal’. And it shouldn’t be. Instead, we should try and bring more calmness into our lives. Recharge ourselves regularly, without our smartphone charger anywhere in sight.

It might sound like a cliche, but eating healthy, going to bed on time, and regular exercise remain the cornerstones of a healthy and vital life. Preferably one without the need for competitiveness, like those tiresome health apps that help us ‘work on our health’. A walk, bike ride, or going for a run should be enough in and of itself, without all kinds of goals that need to be achieved—just moving without the need for thinking or having expectations. Then you really are reducing your stress.

Try saying ‘no’

Do you feel like everything is coming at all at once? Are you overwhelmed by everything you ‘need’ to do? Do you feel like you’re meeting yourself coming and going? Try putting yourself first for once. Take a rest, take your time and let life pass you by. It doesn’t immediately make you lazy or useless when you do nothing for a bit. And it’s perfectly okay to set boundaries and say ‘no’ once in a while.

Not only will this make you a healthier, happier, and better person for your own sake, but also for the people around you.

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