Your Body Will Tell You What It Needs—All You Have To Do Is Listen

It’s November, almost the end of another year, and with that realization comes more. Even in the midst of a seemingly ceaseless pandemic, the world continues at its scarily speedy pace. We go through days, weeks, and months as if in the blink of an eye, until one day we finally notice the exhaustion kick in.

This year has been a whirlwind for me. I’d gone away to complete some military training, and after that was event after event. And as soon as those chunks were done, it was straight back to work for me—one job and then two, both alongside my military duties. It was pretty much nonstop with no significant rest in between, but I kept pushing because I wanted to, because I could take it.

And then it all came crashing down on me. My knees started to give, other joints starting to hurt seemingly randomly. I was having more breakdowns than I was used to, and I found myself sleeping more than I probably should have been, but I was still constantly tired.

It was at this point that I realized what I had been doing to myself. Stubbornly enough, it was only when my body was already screaming at me that it was overworked. I’d tried to take a few days off, but that didn’t seem to work. And so I had to actually pay attention.

I stepped back and took a look at everything that was on my plate. I took a look at both the things I wanted and needed to do and, like a matching game in an activity book, I connected these to what my body was showing me. It was through this introspection that I figured out which things I had to put on hold in order to give myself some time to actually recover. So I let some stuff go, at least for now, and kept the things that I really couldn’t give up.

Right now I’m focusing on other things, goals that I can accomplish without strain to my body. I’m living in the moment as much as I can while letting myself actually heal from everything I’ve been through this year—emotionally, mentally, and physically. I’m giving two months to make up for 10—hopefully that’s enough.

It’s hard to take a step back from the everyday hustle and bustle. You might even say that it’s something we shouldn’t do. Keep going. Don’t let anything get you down. Just keep swimming. This is the thing, though: If you don’t pay attention to what your body is telling you, especially when it’s yelling to slow down, you risk long-term damage. Yes, keep pushing, but listen and act when a break is needed. You need to take care of yourself too.

Those things I took off my plate? I’ll get back to them when I’m good and ready. This year has been grueling, but who knows what’ll happen in the next one? Hopefully, because I listened to what my body was telling me, it’s an upward trajectory from here.