You know all those jokes about parents being exhausted all the time? Yeah, they're not wrong. As a parent you'll never have more responsibility or less sleep. Your energy is insanely divided, but you tend to eat less nutritious food and/or skip out on exercise. It’s a vicious cycle, and the body is quick to let you know it needs to stop. In fact, the subtle ways my body tried to tell me I needed a break is a testament to the undeniable fact that, yes, even us parents can only take so much.
My body used to tell me to chill out prior to having kids, too. Like when I was pulling all-nighters in college studying for exams, or when I was pulling all-nighters because I was simply partying too hard (and, full disclosure, I did the "partying too hard" thing a lot). I could tell my body needed a break because I just didn’t feel like myself. There were physical signs, too, like my mind being foggy, my entire body being exhausted and run down, and just an overall feeling of unhealthiness.
In short, I needed a break, and more often than not I listened to my body and took a break from the all-nighters (or at least the partying ones) so I could get back to neutral. It’s harder when you have children, though, because they don’t really get the whole "needing a break" concept. Kids want what they want and they want it now, and they need what they need and not giving them the necessities is generally frowned upon. Still, I'm trying to slow down, trying to pay attention, and trying to be more mindful of my body and the things it's trying to tell me.
When I Started Passing Out In Random Places
On the couch. In my chair. Hunched over my laptop. With food in my lap. I don’t always end up making it to my bed when my body was ready for sleep, and it’s probably not a good thing.
When I Couldn’t Sleep At All
I tend to toss and turn at night when I’m extremely stressed and overtired. It’s like when your toddler won’t go to bed even though they skipped nap. They want to sleep, but they can’t. It sucks.
When I Got An Uncomfortable Stress Rash
I know my need for a break becomes critical when a mysterious rash appears on and around my neck. It started when I was in college after I’d lost a friend, broken up with a boyfriend, and been assaulted in the same damn year. It still comes back from time to time, usually to tell me to slow it down and take some relaxing time for myself.
When I Started Skipping Showers
When I’m going on two and three days sans showers, I know I need a break. There’s no excuse for someone with clean, running water in an apartment not to shower. It usually means I’ve been taking on too much.
When My Hair Started Falling Out
This has been an ongoing struggle. I know now that it isn’t all from doing too much (it’s also hormonal), but when it gets worse I know I’m in dire need of a time out.
When I Started Gaining Weight From All The Junk I Was Eating
I stress eat. I also eat whatever is easy and fast and convenient when I’ve overbooked my life. As a result of my stress eating and need for quick meals, I usually gain some weight and feel lousy because, well, I'm only eating junk food. Time to hit the breaks.
When My Nails Were A Total Mess
I cannot for the life of me remember the last time I got my nails done. I definitely can’t recall when I clipped them last, because I end up biting them when I'm nervous or stressed. So yeah, a true tell-tale sign that I've taken on too much and need some kind of mini-vacation.
When My Lips Were So Chapped They Bled
Chapped lips usually mean one of two things. Either I am not drinking enough water (which is bad), or I am never looking in a mirror (which, to me, is also bad). My lips go by the wayside when my body is trying to tell me I need a break.
When I Forgot To Put Shoes On My Kid Before School
I know I need a break when I start to lose and/or forget things I wouldn't otherwise lose and/or forget. Like the day I was in the elevator with my son and he asked where his shoes were. His shoes you guys. Yeah, time to book a vacation as soon as possible.