9 Signs You’re Not Taking Good Care of Yourself
A third glass of wine. Hair clogging the drain. Saying no to sex — again. Here are the subtle and surprising signals that your self-care needs an upgrade.
“Hey, girl. I’ve got something to tell you!” Wouldn’t it be cool if our bodies could speak to us in this way? Sad thing is I already know what mine would tell me: “You’re not getting enough sleep.” “Good job with exercise, but you need to eat better.” “Sis, you’re not superwoman. Just say no.”
Although the body doesn’t speak in plain English like that, it has its own way of letting us know stuff. Think headaches, muscle tension, pain, upset stomach and lack of energy. Those are all ways your body lets you know when something is off. Check out these other clues that may mean your body wants you to do a better job caring for it.
You’re tired for tomorrow
If you feel like you could conk out in the middle of a work meeting, or you’re looking forward to a nap shortly after you wake up, you’re probably not getting enough sleep or you’re just plain ole’ overdoing it. “Excessive fatigue is one of those symptoms that’s easy to miss because we might chalk it up to just having a busy lifestyle,” says Vivian Jones, M.D., a family medicine physician at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano and Texas Health Physicians Group. Get more sleep. Still feel like crap? Discuss it with your doctor since a long list of things can cause ongoing drowsiness or fatigue.
You put the milk in the cupboard
OK, maybe that’s just me. Perhaps you thought you were cooking and, 15 minutes later, realized you never turned on the stove. Or you’ve found yourself looking for your cell phone while you were on it. That brain fog and lack of focus can be related to perimenopause, but it may also be a sign you’re sleep-deprived or need to stop and breathe deeply to relieve stress.
Your waistline (and everything else) is growing
Yes, many women gain weight as they get older. But packing on more than a few pounds probably means you need to improve your eating habits and boost your physical activity. Fortunately, you can lose weight with some simple changes.
You’re a hot sniffling mess
If you seem to catch everything that goes around — cold, flu, stomach bug, anything — that’s a sign your immune system isn’t at its best. “Our immune systems are built to try to handle physical, emotional and external stressors, but if you’re constantly juggling all those stressors without relief, after a certain point you’ll experience what I call ‘immune system overload,’” says Jones. Basically, your immune system goes kaput (or close enough). So you pick up this or that illness. The solution: Get your immune system up.
You’re ready to go off on whoever whenever
A sign you need to chill: You’re lashing out at loved ones, coworkers and even random folks in the grocery store. Or you’re crying over the smallest things. These emotional outbursts may be due to chronic unresolved stress, Jones says. Take them as a hint that you need to practice better self-care and possibly speak with a therapist.
You’re in a dry spell
It’s normal for things to change sexually after menopause or if you’ve been in a relationship for a while. However, if you’re not taking care of yourself physically, mentally and emotionally, it can lead to vaginal dryness or decreased interest in sex. Talk to your gyno if your love life is in a drought.
It’s ‘wine o’clock’ again
If alcohol has become a gal pal you hang out with for eight or more drinks a week, that’s probably a sign you’re not managing your stress well. We won’t get into the downsides of excessive drinking. Just remember, there are plenty of other healthy ways to unwind after a rough day.
Your poops are tiny
As crazy as this sounds, those little pellets mean you need to shape up in some area — either nutrition, water intake, exercise or stress. Or you’re waiting too long to go when you have to go. Whatever the case, this is a sign you need to get your life (and your poop) together.
There’s more hair in the drain
If you’re not taking care of both your body and mind properly, you may notice your hair is dry and brittle, shedding more or thinning, says Tashara Lester, a dermatology nurse practitioner at U.S. Dermatology Partners in Carrollton, Texas. So if your shirt is covered in hair after you’re done styling, you’re clogging the drain on wash days or you’re experiencing hair loss, change the way you treat your body to step up your hair game.
Bottom line: Pay attention. Your body gives you clues about what it needs, but if you’re too busy and not listening, you miss the opportunity to make changes that can improve your life, says Jones. And that — being too busy to tune in to your body — is another sign you need to do better.