What is your Warning Sign?

Heather Waring


Are you thrown by my question? Are you wondering what on earth I mean? Warning sign? Warning for what? I think you probably do have a sign but you just don’t realise it.

The warning I’m referring to is the warning to stop! To stop pushing yourself; to stop working; to stop going and going and going. It’s a reminder to stop and look after ourselves, to care for ourselves, to give and to replenish. To be kind, to love and to be gentle with ourselves.

In my experience of the majority of women I know, we are busy, we are striving, we are there for family, for friends, for colleagues. We are there for our colleagues and bosses, our clients and in fact anyone else who needs us BUT we are not there for us – or at least not as much as we could be.

As one of my Camino Experience ladies commented as we walked – “As a wife and mother I am responsible for keeping my family afloat. As an employee I am responsible for keeping my team afloat. But no one is responsible for keeping ME afloat! ” That’s one reason she was out walking with me.

I have a warning sign and it’s a feeling that’s between a tickle and a sore throat and it appears at the back of my throat. The first time I was aware if it, and that’s why I say you are likely to have one but don’t know, I was pushing myself really hard. I was working across time zones, organising interviews, finalising dates for blog publications and generally negotiating publicity for a virtual book tour.  Each day lasted from 8.00 a.m till midnight and I’d been doing this for too many days already without a break. I knew what I was doing but I was still doing it and as I had a 9 day holiday coming up I figured that if I could just get to that point, I could rest.

‘Please don’t develop any further, please don’t develop in to a cold.’ I repeated  addressing the dry, tickley feeling at the back of my throat that had been present for days.  These hopes, became like a mantra in my head as I worked on knowing as I was saying them, that if I were to stop and give myself a break all would be ok. 

I burnt out about two weeks after that incident as although I was away on holiday, my holiday was not 9 days on the beach it was a 9 day walking trip over the Pyrenees. After the holiday I let go. Burnout and Adrenal Fatigue was then diagnosed and as I moved through my recovery it became clear that there had been warning signs but I had not even been aware of them or I ignored them.

Now I know what they are, now I pay attention. I don’t suddenly drop everything as if I’d just been burnt by a match, I consider and I plan.

A warning sign is a great thing to have. It’s your friend.

I have recently been in a similar place as I was all those years ago, working very hard, working long hours and knowing there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I am aware of the pattern. I know the consequences and I am tuned into the dry tickly feeling at the back of my throat. Yes, it’s been around so what’s different?

Now I make sure that I stick to my morning routine of looking after me where possible, so I go out for my walk, making sure I give me step total for the day a real chance. Then I do my yoga exercises and stretches and I eat a good healthy breakfast that fuels me. That sets me up for the day. If I’m working late, then I allow myself to sleep a bit later the next morning so I get that 6-7 hours sleep and if I feel really tired, I don’t push on through, I stop and go to bed sometimes via an epsom salts bath.

By doing the above, the illness, the exhaustion, the irritation no longer happens and I can tell you that family and loved ones really appreciate that, as do I.

So what I want you to do is to be more mindful of your body and the signs. Note down headaches, little aches or pains, twitches, tickly throats etc and see if there is a pattern because then you can nip things in the bud and take action to replenish and care for you.

A warning sign is a great thing to have. It’s your friend.

If you are finding that life is running you rather than the other way round; that there seems little time for joy and fun; that you are irritable and quick to anger then reach for my book – ‘How Walking Saved My Life’ and let it speak to you. The book is available on all amazon sites for different countries. Here is the link for the UK – 

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