Self-care is a term that describes everything we do intentionally for our mental, emotional, and physical well-being. While many people talk about the importance of self-care, too many of us pay so little attention to it. Yet, our self-care is critical. It encourages you to put yourself first.

When you pay close attention to your health and well-being, you’re not just focusing on your own needs. You’re reviving yourself so that you can be the best version of yourself for those around you. Here are five obvious signs you aren’t taking care of yourself.

You’re not getting adequate rest.

Getting a good night’s rest is so important. One of the reasons why it’s so important is because of the health benefits. When you get a good night of rest, you can wake up feeling refreshed. Even one bad night of sleep can leave you feeling incredibly exhausted. When you don’t get adequate sleep, you will find it harder to concentrate and be productive. You may also find yourself wanting to be less interactive, gaining weight, and feeling more depressed overall. Some major causes of sleep deprivation include work, financial and relationship stress, technology, fear, and discouragement. If any of these things are causing you to lose sleep, you need to figure out ways to reduce stress.

You stop caring about your nutrition.

Pay attention to what you’re consuming. When you’re not eating healthy, you’re not taking care of yourself. Good nutrition is self-care. Eating the right things for your body is a big form of self-care. One thing people don’t realize is how much food affects your performance and energy levels. We also don't realize how some of the things we consume do damage to us. Is your plate balanced? Are you drinking a good amount of water? Is your sugar intake high? Not eating the right things daily can have a devastating impact on our health.

The food we eat can also impact our mood. Nourishing your body with the right foods is one of the best ways to cultivate good health. Too often, dieting culture often makes food out to be an enemy. The truth is, what you eat is one of the big components of our existence. When you eat the right things, it will allow your body to function at its best.

You stop working out.

Another sign that you aren’t taking care of yourself is when your workout routine wanes or you're simply not working out at all. Exercise is important, whether walking around the block a few times or running on a treadmill in the gym. All physical activity is important. If you were working out regularly at one point and have abruptly stopped, it may be a sign that something deeper is going on that shouldn’t be left unchecked. If you've let your gym membership lapse, don't worry. Just hop back on the bandwagon.

Exercising is a great way to blow off steam and clear your mind. If you’ve been stressed, this can be a great way to bring it down. Make sure you start with a workout that isn’t too high-intensity. If you start too high, it can sabotage your efforts. A study in the Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology that mental fatigue negatively affects physical performance. This means that when your brain is tired before the workout, your muscles may be too.

You’re extremely stressed out.

Stress can be extremely detrimental to your health and well-being. Family, work, and relationships can be top stress drivers, but many others can really be frustrated and anxious. During this period, a stress hormone called cortisol can stay elevated, Dr. Bloom said in an interview with The Healthy.

“When cortisol levels are unbalanced or spiked, this can cause us to feel moody, anxious, depressed, or suffer from poor cognitive function–all equating to lower libido and self-worth. High cortisol can also cause an increase of body fat and inflammation, which can lead to less self-confidence, frustration, and reduced energy and overall well-being,” he says.

This is why self-care is so important. If you’re extremely stressed out, take some time for yourself. If you have vacation time, take it. You may need a little separation from your everyday tasks. If you have vacation time, take the time you need to get your head straight. Make sure you truly tune all the chaos out. Otherwise, you will only stress yourself out more.

You lose interest in the things you love.

Losing interest in the things that matter most to you is a tell-tale sign that you're not taking care of yourself. Are you suddenly less interested in completing activities that you enjoy? Do you find yourself wanting to hang out in your bedroom more than you want to be around loved ones? If you're feeling depressed, anxious, or lower than normal, it's time to talk to someone. It also may point to something in your life that needs to be addressed. Don't let it get so bad that it's hard to manage later.

When you take care of yourself, not only will you benefit, but those around you will also benefit. One of the best ways to take care of you is to pay attention to your physical, mental, and emotional health. When something feels off, don't ignore it. Make sure you’re getting 6 to 8 hours of sleep each night, be a healthy eater, and make sure you’re doing the things that matter the most to you. Also, take the time to focus on what motivates you. Try something that makes you feel alive. When you begin to take your self-care seriously, you will be in a better position to love those you care about the most. It’s time to live your best life and not let anything stop you.

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