Recently, when I awoke on a Saturday morning, the feeling of fatigue in my body was overwhelming.  Between my trip to Chicago to see my mom and playing catch up at work, the past three weeks had finally caught up with me.  I knew immediately that I “hit the wall.”

The first time I experienced “hitting the wall” was years ago when I was a competitive cyclist.  In cycling, as well as other endurance sports, hitting the wall means that you’ve pushed yourself beyond your limit and your body is so depleted that you have nothing left to give.  Trust me, it is not a good feeling.

Although I no longer race bikes, I know all too well that you don’t have to be an endurance athlete to feel like you’re pushing yourself to extremes.  Just keeping up with the hustle and grind of our fast paced culture is enough to test our limits every single day.

Fortunately, there are a few signs and symptoms that will let you know when you need to slow things down.  The challenge here is to recognize the signs before you hit the wall!  In other words, don’t do what I did.  🙁

These are the ones to watch out for:

1.  Your physical and mental health are suffering.  Overdoing it can result in headaches, digestive issues, inability to sleep, anxiety and depression.

2.  You only see what you haven’t done.  When you are always moving on to the next thing on your to-do list, you’re unable to make time for rest.

3.  You put your self care on hold.  Although you may want to exercise, eat well and get more sleep, you can’t find the time because you’re always “too busy.”

4.  You aren’t taking time off.  Consistently putting off vacations or taking the occasional day off could be a sign that you are burning the candle at both ends.

While having a strong work ethic is important, that’s only part of the equation.  Sleeping, moving slowly, taking time off and relaxing are just as important for creating success.

Of course, there will always be circumstances when we need to push ourselves in order to get something done, but driving ourselves like a workhorse in order to do it all and have it all is definitely not the way.

As I mentioned, I’m a life long student so, slowly but surely, I am learning these lessons.  Do I still teeter on the edge…..absolutely!  I know I need to constantly remind myself that I don’t have to do it all and that it’s always okay to let things go.

Now, when I feel like I’m pushing myself too hard, I try to pause for a moment and ask myself “is there another way to do this?”  Usually the answer is a very loud “yes.”

How about you?  Have you been pushing yourself too hard?  Can you do things differently so that you can still take care of what’s important without sacrificing your health and happiness?  I’m pretty sure the answer is yes.

When we embrace being as well as doing, then all aspects of our life will flow smoothly.