Small Life, Slow Life: What to Do When Your Body Says No. {Plus Link Love!}

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I felt it as soon as I woke up.

“No.”

I’d been going, going, going for a few weeks. I felt it in my bones, sure as anything – to all of the plans I had laid out for the day, my body was saying a strong “NO.”

I’ve ignored my body’s “no” before, and it usually looked like a day where I felt snappy, restless, irritated, resentful. Arguments were created on days my body told me “no.” I hurt people, made messes, and then had to spend days afterward cleaning up those messes.

I was in my car yesterday, halfway to where I was going, when I realized that not-so-great things usually happen when my body says no and I don’t listen.

Call it intuition, or a hunch, or simply a direct communication from the wiser part of you – but ignoring your body’s plea that you rest isn’t a good idea.

So I pulled over, contacted the people I needed to, and returned directly home.

What did I do with my day that had been full of plans, but suddenly had nothing required of me?

I read books. I played on the internet. I brainstormed ideas for this very blog, and others.

I made a new vision board.

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I watched episodes of the first season of LOST (don’t give me any spoilers – I seriously have no idea what happens).

I texted with friends and made a delicious breakfast.

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I went for a walk in my neighborhood.

I sat on my balcony and looked at the pretty trees.

I totally, completely recharged.

And today?

I’m fully rested, and ready to get the heck back out there.

You might not always have the option to drop everything when your body says no, and I get that. But if there is an option to clear your schedule, cancel plans, or tell the truth about something you’ve been holding in, by all means, do it. The body is infinitely wiser than we give it credit for. In our genetic makeup are all the tools for protecting us from harm, whether it be from a mountain lion or from our own emotions.

There’s never been a time that I’ve listened to my body’s “no” that I’ve regretted it. Instead, it’s always made room for more – more connection, more laughter, the ability to work harder tomorrow.

When your body says no:

-Cancel any plans that can be put off. This isn’t procrastinating, it’s honoring what you deeply need.

-Explain to friends that you’re taking a mental wellness day, and shut off your phone. They’ll get it.

-Allow time for recharging. That means it’s okay if you spend your day researching puppy cams on the internet, painting your nails, reading teen fiction, cutting out pictures out of magazines, eating comfort food. It may not look like you’re doing anything, but you’re actually doing something vital. It’ll all pay off, so give yourself a break.

-Take a long bath.

-Go for a walk.

-Watch silly TV (which I don’t usually recommend, but it can work wonders on days your body says “no”).

-Take Vacation Saturday (or Wednesday, or Friday – whatever).

-Look at your schedule for the upcoming week and cut out the things that drain you. You’ll be able to return to them with renewed energy in a shorter amount of time than you think.

-If, after giving yourself some mental space, you feel ready to tackle priorities, then do so. Take out the trash, clean the kitchen floor, do the laundry. But only do those things if you feel renewed. Often, it takes me a full day by myself to completely recharge.

-Do some super low-intensity, restorative yoga.

-Write love letters to strangers and leave them around your city.

-Watch youtube videos that make you laugh. (This one always does it for me!)

-Do a crafty project. (Need inspiration? How to make kombucha, sauerkraut, a fabric pinboard, a vision board & DIY colored mason jars. 🙂

Do nothing. At all.

If I’m really, really overloaded, sometimes I’ll take a second day to do nothing, but this usually isn’t necessary. Most of the time, after a full day off, I’m kind of bored by the time evening rolls around (and I consider boredom a good thing, because it means I’ll want to take action tomorrow) and excited for the next day.

When your body says “no,” do you listen? 

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In line with what we’re talking about here, the useless days really do all add up to something.

Danielle LaPorte wrote a great, short post on creating the feelings you want to feel.

As usual, A Beautiful Mess came up with a fun DIY: How to make a textured vase.

Perfectly on point, Maria Shriver wrote a blog on taking care of yourself.

I really liked this article: What Victoria’s Secret ‘Bright Young Things’ Underwear Should Say.

Chris Kresser wrote an incredibly well-researched article – Does red meat cause inflammation?

Gala Darling compiled the most interesting reading material on the internet. Possibly ever.

I’m following “The Wunder Year” – a blog that’s about a lot more than just wearing Wunder Under Pants everyday. I loved her most recent post: I See You.

My friend Jen posted the cutest comic ever by Yumi Sakuguma on falling in friend-love. I totally related to it! When I fall in friend-love, I fall hard.

This might be my favorite post from Sarah Wilson, ever: Laugh, and kiss him back.

Some images to make you smile:

Have a great weekend, guys!
xoxo Jen

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