Life is made up of routines, and more often than not, we can cruise through the day without having to exert much effort because, well, that's how awesome our brains and muscle memory are. This is both amazing, and dangerous. It's dangerous because we may start forming habits that aren't the best for us, or are detrimental in the long run without noticing. Think about the days when you would crack your knuckles, bite your nails, or always (without fail) reach for the phone to dial an ex after a long, boozy, night out. Habits that we set help to determine not just our day, but our overall mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health.
If you feel that recently you've been on auto-pilot, and you'd like to be woken up back to living your best life, here are a few warning signs to look out for.
Changes in Sleep Pattern
My mom always says that "you only sleep when you need to" and boy, is she right. When we sleep, it's when our bodies and minds get to relax a bit. Our heart rate slows, our muscles relax and our mind gets to wander without abandon. It's necessary to keeping you in tip-top shape. Have you noticed that you've been taking naps recently? That you wake up after a full 7 or 8 hours of sleep, but still feel lethargic? Or are you more restless while sleeping? Have you started grinding your teeth in your sleep due to stress or anxiety? These are all big things to look out for, and changes in sleep patterns shouldn't be taken lightly.
You're Hyper-Sensitive (You stay mad)
This isn't to say that being sensitive is a bad thing, and as women Lord knows we have moments. But I'm referring more to hyper-sensitive, bordering on extremely irritable. When we start feeling annoyed by things that wouldn't normally be an issue, normally there's an underlying problem. Many psychologists agree that what annoys us about others usually has more to do with an unaddressed concern or insecurity that we have with ourselves. Sun's too bright? You mad. The couple sitting across from you is too in love? You mad. Your friends are texting just a bit more than usual today? You mad. This is the point where you have to step back, and away and have one of those Iyanla conversations with yourself, and get to the root of the issue. What exactly has been making you feel unhappy recently? This is crucial because in your process of "just being mad" you may irreparably damage relationships both personal and professional.
You're At The Back of the Line
Somewhere along the way, putting ourselves first became some selfish crime. That's so twisted. If your tank is empty, and you're running on fumes and a prayer, how can you possibly be expected to give and pour into others? It's unrealistic and unfair. Think back to the last time you did something you wanted to do. I'm not talking about helping your friends move, or proof-reading a colleague's report. When was the last time you said 'no' simply because you didn't want to do something (and didn't feel bad for it either!). Most importantly, when was the last time you bought yourself a present?
You're Too Available
This could also be called: when was the last time you were quiet. Be still. We are perpetually surrounded by triggers, and dings! and buzzes and questions, and judgments and headlines and bad news and gossip... the list goes on. This calls for: boundaries. It's easy to forget that you, and only you, set the tone for how others will see and treat you. If you let others mow over you, your time, and your wishes because you refuse to politely ask them to FALL THE EFF BACK, well, they'll continue to push, and push, and push. Are you feeling drained? Have you been getting headaches recently from constantly staring at screens and blue lights? When was the last time you turned off your phone... and not just for an update? I would never want to insult you, but if Queen Bey can turn her phone off for a few hours, you can too. The world can wait. You can still give a pity double tap to your friend's struggle plate on Instagram when you turn your phone back on.
You've Stopped Laughing
Take a second and think about the last time you laughed. Like a genuine laugh, not a half-hearted LOL. Fake laughs aside, when you find someone or something that makes you chuckle and cry out in joy, it's extremely cathartic. Laughing is necessary, and even spending a few seconds laughing each day can brighten your mood and make you feel ten times better. If you haven't laughed in a while, you need to seek that joy just as willfully as you seek anything else. You deserve a life that's bright, and happy, and light.
No one is saying that life needs to be filled with unicorns doing hair flips, and cotton candy comets... but, that also doesn't mean that you need to feel like each day is an uphill battle. There are small steps that you can take each day to protect your peace and keep your tank full. First, ask yourself the hard questions like what is it that you want, what's missing, and how can you obtain it. Then look around, and decide if the people and places you associate with are truly in line with the quality and kind of life you're trying to obtain. Then finally, be brave enough to make the change. Best doesn't mean perfect. Best is also not static, and will vary from day to day and even moment to moment.
What does your best life look like right now, and are you ready to charge towards it with all you've got? If you don't show up for you, how can you expect others to? Be your own advocate first.
Danni, Community + Content Director at Las Morenas de España, is a twenty-something, Chicago native currently residing in Madrid. Lover of language, words, and travel, she's managed to combine all of her passions through her work. In her free time, you can find her exploring the winding streets of Madrid, hunting down good flight deals, planning her next adventure and writing & researching for LMDES. Danni loves spicy food, natural hair, music and of course, her wonderful husband. If you need to find her, she’s the girl with huge hair and her face buried in her Kindle.