Some days I just need to slow down. I know you know that feeling. When your body is literally telling you to stop and take a breath because you’ve been going a mile a minute with no end in sight. I mean I get it, life is crazy and there’s always something that needs to get done or something that needs to be taken care of for someone.
I’m not saying that taking a break means that you neglect your responsibilities. Far from it. I’m saying that taking a break needs to be an opportunity for you to rejuvenate.
With self-care being the hotness, I feel like people everywhere are toting this verbiage of doing what’s the best for you. To me, that’s not what self-care means.
Back in the day, I couldn’t give myself a break even if I tried. When I was really active in CrossFit, and then again post baby when I was trying my hardest to lose weight and feel good again, the thought of taking time off was non-existent. It was one of those ‘well that’ll be a nice thing to have in the future when I’ve reached my goals’ kind of thought.
I let my ego get in the way, along with my pride. I felt like taking a break meant I was weak or that I didn’t take the goals I set for myself as seriously as other people took their goals. Like one day off would circumvent any progress I had made.
I realize that sounds a little ridiculous but that’s where my head was at. Like I didn’t deserve to take a second to myself, I had to do everything by myself AND I still had to workout like a fiend so I could hit my fitness goals. I was lucky because I didn’t hit burn out. Most people do. That kind of pace isn’t sustainable nor is it realistic for the majority of the population.
But you know what happened? I didn’t have some major epiphany or some major meltdown (thank GOD), but I started regressing. Not giving my body the rest it needed, meant that my body couldn’t perform in the manner I wanted it to because I was too exhausted. The feedback I received from my body was to stop if I wanted to get stronger. Take a break if I wanted to see change.
I could spout off all this stuff about how I had to let go of my ego and my pride, I had to do the work to realize that I was worth the break, my body deserved the rest and all that stuff. But I won’t. I won’t because that wasn’t how it happened. I had to give myself the rest because I was getting frustrated that I wasn’t performing to the degree I wanted to, and I had to let that rest show me that it wasn’t going to undo the progress I already made. After I saw that taking a break was not going to undo everything I had already done, that I actually felt better, then I started to do all that internal work (with the help of a coach).
This is why when I coach, I encourage my clients to listen to what their bodies are telling them. Know that there is always an option that will work the best for you and it doesn’t have to be what everyone else is doing. Learn the difference between doing what you want and doing what you need, and take ownership in doing what you need. There’s power in listening to what you need to maintain a healthy lifestyle. So when you want to go hard, go for it but when you need to slow down, go for that too.