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When You Need to Pause and Rest in Life With Chronic Illness

Today, I’ve battled extreme exhaustion in the middle of the day. One minute, I was watching TV with my sons. The next minute, I’m having trouble keeping my eyes open while sitting on the bed. My sons caught me dozing off and they tried to keep me up.

Even though I did manage to stay up and not go to sleep, I’ve felt completely drained and it was hard for me to focus on any tasks. With my annual community event quickly approaching, starting my new positions, and completing my children’s book while taking care of my household, I know I have a lot on my plate. I’ve felt like I had to do it all.

And my body realized it, too, and decided to give me a reality check in the form of sheer exhaustion and debilitating headaches. Instead of trying to meet my deadlines and complete the tasks I intended to accomplish, I’ve decided to complete what I could and then pause everything else and rest.

Recognize the signs that our bodies are telling us to slow down:

– Feeling frazzled and overwhelmed with all that you have to do.

– Feeling less motivated to complete your tasks.

– Being short-tempered, annoyed and irritable around others.

– Experiencing short-term memory issues. You’re forgetting appointments, tasks and events.

– Lacking sleep because you’re too focused on completing your tasks.

– Experiencing a change of dietary habits. You’re either skipping meals, not eating a lot, eating too much or eating less nutritious meals. This could also happen when you’re drinking more caffeinated drinks to stay focused or just not drinking any liquids at all.

– Experiencing headaches, muscle tension, skin issues due to stress and anxiety.

If you’re currently experiencing any of these symptoms, then your body is telling you to pause what you’re doing and rest.

As spoonies, it’s especially important that we listen to our body cues because ignoring the signs can greatly affect our health. From a diabetic standpoint, we risk experiencing hyperglycemic episodes from being stressed, forgetting to take medicine or lack of sleep. We could also experience hypoglycemic episodes issues from skipping meals, not eating enough and feeling fatigued.

What does it mean to pause and rest?

You stop doing everything that you’re doing and rest. Take a nap. Eat a nutritious meal. Spend time with family and friends. Take a walk or go to the gym. Go on a vacation. Focus on a hobby. Delegate tasks to others, whether it’s chores or work assignments. By taking time to pause and rest, you’re giving up control and letting things be.

Then when you’re ready, return to your task with a sound mind and renewed focus.

Don’t wait until you’re exhausted to pause and rest. Listen for your body cues. When you notice the signs, act accordingly. Don’t ignore the signs. Pause and rest!

This story originally appeared on The Genetic Diabetic.

Getty image by Prostock-Studio.