There’s always too much of a good thing.
I sat writing this post and kept trying to think of ways this statement isn’t true. Too many puppy hugs? Too much happiness? Then I realized it is true because I personally may not have a problem with too many puppy hugs, but I think my clients and employers might if I stopped showing up to work, which I may do if you give me unlimited time with puppies.
Same thing with happiness. It might just be me, but I feel like unbridled happiness that goes unchecked without a little bit of sad makes the world a little unrealistic and could lead to not being prepared to handle life as it arises (and it will).
So it’s all about balance.
I started this post as an exercise-specific one, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that overtraining in fitness is only one facet of knowing when to slow down. The following signs can easily be applied to whatever you have going on in your life that you may be doing to excess.
1. You’re always tired OR you can’t sleep
Since I did intend a fitness-specific post, I’m still going to use a few of those examples. Performing a disproportionate amount of exercise without the appropriate rest means that your body doesn’t have enough time to recover. You may feel persistently fatigued or experience disturbances in sleep caused by an imbalance in hormones.
Not focusing on exercise, if you’re spending all your time on one or more activities and not allowing your body time to rest and relax, you may start experiencing similar symptoms. It’s important to listen to your body. Take some time to check in and see how you’re feeling and if you need to take a day/night/week off.
2. You don’t find the same joy in what you’re doing
This happened to me with running. Last year I pushed myself to run three half marathons, two of which I did because I was either paid or I won a free entry and didn’t want it to go to waste. A sport I previously loved turned into something I dreaded doing and I had to force myself to try and get out and “train” for the last two races. Running used to be a form of meditation for me, but last year it turned into an annoyance.
If you’re doing something just to do it and you no longer enjoy what it’s bringing to your life, ask yourself if you still need to be doing it. If it’s something that you were once passionate about, try and take a step back and wait for the passion to return. Some days I want to write all day long and other days I just want to sit and read. Rather than force myself to push out a mediocre post, I take the day off and let my creativity recharge.
3. You’re sick, injured, etc.
This is especially relevant to fitness. Overtraining or working too long/hard doesn’t give your body the time it needs to recover and repair. Due to this, you’re more likely to develop injuries and illnesses since your immune system isn’t working to its full potential.
Stress is detrimental to our bodies. If you’re working too much or spreading yourself too thin, you may experience some of the same symptoms. Create boundaries with work and social life and make sure to schedule some down time for you to recharge.
4. Your self-esteem starts to suffer
It may seem counter intuitive that the more you do, the worse you may start to feel about yourself. BUT I’M DOING ALL THE THINGS! It’s a fine line between productive and obsessive, and when you start to cross that line, your worth can slowly become tied in with your results.
If we’re talking about exercising, “the more you accomplish, the better off you are” can be a common mindset. As you continue without letting your body rest appropriately, you may find yourself sidelined by injury or sickness and therefore not able to accomplish what you did before. This can be a blow to your confidence and your ability to find contentment in the everyday. Remember: you are not defined by how much you exercise.
If we’re talking about life, the same holds true. An unbalanced life means that your identity may start to get tied up in that unbalance. Spending all your time at work means that you have little time for much else, and any failure at work could be perceived as a personal one. Putting all your time into a specific hobby means that you aren’t able to round out your identity and if that hobby is taken away or you’re not able to complete it anymore, you could be left feeling lost and confused about what to do next.
I’m a big advocate for introspection. It’s so easy to barrel through each day without really taking the time to figure out how we FEEL. Make sure to take a little time each day to check in and see if you need to slow down.
P.S. Today is the last day to enter my EPIC 3 year giveaway! If you haven’t, head here for a chance to win. Even if you have, there are some options you can do more than once!
- Have you every experienced any of these symptoms?
- How do you know when it’s time to slow down?