When it comes to self-care, sometimes it helps to think about the “check engine” light in our cars.

If the “check engine” light comes on, we don’t hesitate, but immediately get our car checked out.

We know that if we neglect that, if we wait, the car will stop, the parts will break down, we won’t get where we want to go, and there will much greater expense and damage down the road.

​So we don’t wait, even if it’s only to avoid extra financial expense when something bigger breaks.

See where I’m going with this?

When it comes to our self-care, we often ignore the signs and signals.

We think “I’m a tough guy; I’ll be fine” and we power through.

We grade that extra stack of papers.

We join that extra committee.

We fill in every last inch of the daily boxes in our calendars and leave no room for the “car” to cool down or to refuel.

And sometimes, it’s true, we have to keep going.

Just as sometimes we have to drive home or to the car dealership before we can get our car fixed.

But sometimes it’s a choice.

Sometimes it’s merely a habit.

Sometimes we’re simply accustomed to keep going, to stay on the Merry-Go-Round, even when every fiber of our being is screaming, “Jane, get me off this crazy thing.” (Jetsons fans? Show of hands.)

So join with me, please, as we stop now and reflect.

Be mindful of what is happening to your “car.” (that’s you, in case the metaphor failed).

What “check engine” lights are you getting in your life?

What signs and signals are you receiving that may be telling you it’s time to slow down, take a break, breathe for a bit?

Feel free to tell us in the comment section what your signals are.

And then tell us what you plan to do about them. TZT

*This post was the result of a conversation in last month’s Zen Teacher Virtual Retreat and can be found in a slightly different format in my new teacher self-care book, due out in early 2019.

​Wait. Did I say that out loud? (then I guess I’ll have to tell you more later. . .)