What I Do When I Don’t Feel Good

Self-care tips for when it’s time to recharge.

balancing rocks

Some days, like yesterday, I have tons of energy and focus. I feel like a machine. I just go, go, go. Then I look at the clock and realize hours have passed. I have to pee really badly — and I’m starving.

Other days, like today, I feel tired, not as focused, and I have a headache.

In the past, I would have given myself no slack, determined to produce, complete, check off the entire to-do list for the day — or else.

I had trained myself to abide by the rule that I had to keep up to impress.

Self-Imposed Pressures

Who did I need to impress? In my mind, I wanted to wow everyone from my boss to myself. I was convinced that the stuff on my “things to do today” list — whether they were for work or simply my general life responsibilities — were nonnegotiable.

The saddest thing, though, was that I pushed ahead at the expense of my own inner guidance. Even when I didn’t feel good, I’d force myself onward. And during this momentum, I soon discovered that I didn’t even know what my body’s inner wisdom sounded like.

I didn’t realize that listening to my body when I was feeling “off” was healthy. Instead, I merely saw it as a major inconvenience.

Learning to Listen

I can’t lose sight of my body’s needs anymore. In fact, I’ve realized that when I don’t feel good, I’m not as clear-minded, so the work that I put out isn’t as good as it is when I feel my best.

Now, on the days when I’m not feeling well, I’ve learned to give myself a break. I do the bare minimum on my “have-to-do” list. And I’ve learned to be OK with that.

Because good and bad days are normal.

Understanding this, and rolling with the ebbs and flows, is really one of the healthiest things you can do for both your physical and emotional health.

For these “off” days, I’ve created a new list. It’s called my TCM List, or Taking Care of Me List.

My TCM List

Here are some of the things I like to do on my “off” days:

  • Move more slowly.
  • Take a nap.
  • Drink tea.
  • Wear comfy clothes and slippers.
  • Do a less intense workout — or skip it altogether.
  • Get outside for a walk.
  • Watch funny movies.
  • Get a massage.
  • Practice yoga.
  • Take a long, candlelit bubble bath.
  • Read uplifting books.
  • Eat nourishing, comforting food.
  • Hang out with friends.

Granted, I can’t do every one of these things, but I pick and choose based on what feels right to me that day.

Taking good care of yourself is something I talk a lot about in my ROCK Your Dream Body Program because, well, it’s important and often forgotten. We become numb and ignore the signals that it’s time to recharge.

Instead, we wait until those quiet whispers have turned into a full-on bullhorn yell.

We have emotions for a reason. We have inner guidance for a reason: It’s supposed to help guide us.

But what good is it if we ignore it all the time? What good is it if we put it (and ourselves) on the back burner?

If you have “off” days like me, why not try out a few things from my list yourself? Or use my list as inspiration to create your own.

Make a commitment to yourself to start listening and following the guidance that you receive in whatever small or big ways that you can.

Tell Us: Do you ever have “off” days? What’s one thing you like to do to take care of yourself on those days? Share in the comments section below.

Sheila Viers is an emotional-eating expert, holistic life coach, and cofounder of Live Well 360.

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