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Listening to your body wisdom

burnout emotions energy Aug 31, 2021

Your body is a marvelous creation! It speaks to you when it’s doing great, and it also speaks to you when things aren’t so wonderful. And that’s the beauty of it – your body gives a ton of signals to let you know it’s in need of something so you can do what’s necessary to achieve optimal overall health.


If you are like many others, you let your head rule and disregard the signals from your body. That’s just how we get conditioned as we grow up, and it continues into adulthood particularly if you’re a knowledge worker.


Last week I met with a new client who felt like he was in a rut. This felt a little perplexing for him as he was usually energetic and open for a challenge. Listening to his life story, you could describe him as a dynamic go-getter who suddenly felt he was lacking motivation and drive, and as a result his confidence was deteriorating. He was mentally and physically tired and looking for a plan to get out of this rut. Also in his story were clues from his body that he needed to look inward to re-group and re-align himself so he could continue his trajectory of achievements.


The reality is we live and dream in our bodies. We perceive the world around us through our body responses however we rarely consider them when we’re busy and achieving.   


7 physical signs to look out for:

  1. Recovery strategies no longer work or feel like they haven’t quite done the job.
  2. Craving space and time in a way that indicates a yearning.
  3. Your breathing has changed and become shallower.
  4. Gut issues, where your digestive system isn’t working as well as it used to. You may have started experiencing food intolerances or flatulence. 
  5. Unexplained headaches or stomach aches.  
  6. Involuntary body movements like leg or eye twitching, or unable to hold your hand still. 
  7. Low immunity or cold symptoms that don’t want to go away.


Use these strategies to start tuning in to what your body is telling you:

1. Assess how you feel each morning. The early morning hours are usually ideal for you to listen for your body’s signals. At that time of day, it’s usually very quiet, so you can pay closer attention to the signals. Each morning, notice how you feel.

  • Notice how you feel when you wake up. Are you tired, excited or just nicely awake or perhaps something else?
  • Determine if you experience any new aches and pains when getting out of bed. What are they trying to tell you? 
  • What are the thoughts that you notice first? How do they impact the start of your day?


2. Notice the effects of different food choices. As you go through your day, what food do you crave or choose to eat? Some days it can be tough to eat well. Especially if you’re always on the go, you may end up making some poor food choices. As you do that, however, it’s important to see what kind of impact your food choices have on your body. 

  • Do you find that you’re more energetic when you have eaten well? 
  • Are you able to concentrate and focus better when you eat regularly?  


3. Allow yourself time to be still in your busy schedule. Carve out some time each day to just be still and notice what’s happening around you and within you. You only need 5 minutes for this. It’s a time where chores, work, family obligations, and everything else can wait. That time will give you a good sense-check of where you are at with yourself and provide clues on what to do next.


4. Know your limits, both physically and mentally. Rome wasn't built in a day and neither were your limits. Managing boundaries is a key requirement for taking care of yourself.

  • It’s okay to exercise or work out until your muscles feel worn, but you’ll know if you’ve overdone it if the recovery time is longer than usual. 
  • The same goes for mental exhaustion. You’ll feel like you’re coping through the long, stressful working hours until you realize you’re struggling the next day to maintain your daily routine.

Help yourself to strengthen by working up to where you need to be, otherwise you might feel less competent when you have to take 3 steps back. 


Paying attention to your body’s signals is a crucial part of maintaining good overall health. Remember that your body experiences before your brain interprets it, so take the opportunity to listen to it before it feels like it needs to wrestle control and forces you to rest.


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