Why do we Ignore the Signals?


I’m not sure how many times I will have to learn this lesson the hard way. Apparently, many. And most recently, this past week. When we go-go-go and ignore the signs from our bodies that we need rest, our bodies have a way of simply smacking us in the face. Why do we ignore the signals? Is it just me?

The signs started small, like they always do. I felt tired. But I could chalk that up to not getting to bed early enough a couple nights. My nose was runny. But I could attribute that to allergies. My asthma kicked up a notch. But I figured it was from the poor air quality from the wildfires burning up in Canada.

I didn’t go to bed much earlier; I had too much to do.
I took allergy medicine and hoped for the best; I didn’t have time to be sick.
I used my emergency inhaler a couple times; that’s why it’s there, right?

I woke up Thursday morning and could not open one eye. It was sealed shut. I’ll spare you the gross details. Suffice it to say, it derailed the rest of my week. In fact, I couldn’t look at a screen for a couple days for more than about five minutes. I got to urgent care, got an antibiotic and eye drops, and put myself to bed for three days.

Why do I resist listening to the signs from the beginning?
Why don’t I feel the signs and ask myself what I need?
Why do I keep going, even when I’m running on empty?

I’m pretty sure I’m not alone on this. Women are particularly notorious for going until we fall down. But with all this talk and memes and societal “permission” to engage in self-care, why aren’t things changing?

For me, I’m still trying to figure out the “why” behind my actions. I suspect it’s a combination of a couple things. As a mother, partner, daughter, business owner, and friend, I feel the weight of other people’s expectations heavily. I don’t want to let anyone else down, so I let myself down instead by not telling anyone “No.”

But there’s a deeper issue of self-worth, I’m starting to suspect. Do I deserve to take a break when others are not? That’s one I’ll have to wrestle with my therapist on.

To my wife’s credit, she made it crystal clear she didn’t want me and my nasty germs in our kitchen or near anyone else. She did it in the most loving way possible, and the message was clear. Now, to work on that acceptance piece… I think I’ll go take a nap.

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