The hectic lifestyle we talk about above comes with a nice big dose of stress. Rushing from activity to activity, trying to hit deadlines and caring for your loved ones can be stressful. Not the sort of stress that's going to have you noticing it everyday, but it will increase your stress slowly over time. The hormone levels in your body will be altered in repsonse to this stress, and not in a positive way. You'll be increasing the chance of injury, illness and all sorts of other ailments. Your body will also struggle to perform as well as it can and it'll struggle to recover and repair itself too. Lesson here - take time out of your day to allow yourself to unwind and relax. Empty your 'stress bin' so it doesn't overflow and cause you problems.
Do you feel continuously tired? Chances are you're not getting enough quality sleep - the key word here being 'quality'. We're not going to go into detail on how to get quality sleep as we've discussed it before. What we will say though is that if you're not in a position where you're not getting quality sleep then don't push yourself as hard as when you are getting quality sleep. Without good sleep to recover from the days activities you'll end up adding todays work on top of yesterday and the day before as you've not recovered yet. On the flip side, if you're just tired through not being active (yes, that's possible!) then get up and do something! The key is knowing the difference.
If you feel a cold coming on lots of people will tell you to work through it and effectively ignore it. We'll say the opposite. If you feel a cold or some illness coming on then take some time to allow you body to focus on fighting that illness. It's hard work for your immune system so the last thing you need is to do a massive gym session and give your body something else to focus on. When you get ill cut your workouts to low intensity stretching and suppleness ones. Avoid lifting heavy weights or working yourself to near exhaustion as that will just make it easier for the illness to take hold. Missing a couple of sessions won't make a big difference in the long run.
4) How your body feels
This is probably the most important one to learn how to do properly. Listening to your body is hard at first, you may mix up the signals or get it wrong but that's not really a problem. In the long run learning to understand what your body is telling you is really vital to health and fitness. For example you'll learn to understand the difference between being truly tired or just lethargic. You'll understand the difference between a rumbly tummy and actually being hungry (doubtful any of us have felt true hunger). Once you can listen to your body effectively you can recognise when to take it easy and when to keep going.
So there's just a few examples of when you should really think about slowing down. It's all about understanding yourself and you're feeling. It's also having the courage to take it easy rather than trying to plough on through everything. You may get the signals wrong occasionally, but you'll learn and the benefits will outweigh the risks. Give it a go!