It may seem a little strange that my first “fitness” post is about taking a rest day… But so many of my clients claim that stress and lack of time is their biggest health and fitness obstacle. I spend much of my consulting time, encouraging them to focus on their physical and emotional health so that they can give more to the people and things that require their attention. Well, guess who wasn’t taking her own advice…
Here’s a little back story. In the last 2 months, I have taken on three unbelievably stressful and taxing projects/challenges that have required more physical, mental and emotional energy than I could have ever imagined. I had gone days, even weeks without a good nights sleep, or regular meals (and this girl loves to eat!). I won’t go into all the gory details, but I was at my breaking point!
Just when I was about to jump off into the deep end of the crazy pool, my autistic son had a meltdown. It was a big one! Once the dust settled…hours later…my husband decided that as a “punishment”, all technology would go away. At first it felt like I was the one being punished! After all, there were a ton of things that just HAD to get done.
After about 30 minutes of pouting and pacing… yes, I was the one pouting and pacing, not my kiddo… I decided to suck it up, get down on the floor and play Lego pirates. It wasn’t long before our “punishment” became a huge reward. My son had both Mommy and Daddy’s full attention, we were totally present with each other for the first time in quite a while.
As the hours went by, I could feel my shoulders relax, my brain stopped racing and I could actually breathe. It was a total reset!
I didn’t stay on the floor and play Legos all day, in fact, I barely sat down at all. But I was disconnected from the things that overwhelm me everyday and was totally focused on people around me. It’s amazing how much you can learn about Legos when you’re not distracted by emails, texts, facebook, etc., etc. Did you know that there is a Lego pirate with a white face instead of yellow?!?! Fascinating!
Of course the biggest reward was the quality time with my family, but the next reward came the following day, after a really good nights sleep 😉 I actually had the energy to get in a killer workout and then put in 100% at work. I was even able to confidently make some pretty big decisions that I had been really struggling with during my previous brain fog.
We have now decided that we will have a weekly “Rest Day”. On Sundays, I’m allowed to work until 8am, then all technology shuts down until after 5pm. OK, it’s not a full rest day, but it’s a start. I still work from about 5-8am, go to church, meal prep, clean house and take the dog for walks. But I’m allowing myself to be present for my family and give my brain and body a chance to regroup.
It’s still a struggle to initially disconnect when I feel like there are so many things that need my attention. I have to remind myself that there will always be another project, new emails in my inbox, meal plans and workouts to write, schedules to create, events to plan, yada, yada, yada. But if I don’t cut myself some slack, I’ll find myself drowning in the deep end of that crazy pool… and then I’m no good to anyone.
Much like beginning a fitness routine or changing your eating habits, taking a rest day can actually feel a bit like punishment at first. But then you see and feel the RESULTS, and it makes it all worth it.
So, the moral of the story is to take some real time off! Schedule it! Make it Happen! Turn off the phone, the TV & the Laptop for even just a few hours (after you finish reading this, of course), and allow yourself to reset! Use the time to focus on the things that are truly important, like your health and family. You might be surprised as to how quickly your health, fitness, relationships, productivity and stress level improves.
Now it’s time for me to go follow my own advice. Happy Rest Day!