If you google “recovery day” you will find countless articles on the importance of rest and recovery days for fitness. Taking a recovery day is just as important for progress as the actual exercise. Giving the body the ability to rest and recover allows the muscles to grow, come out of the stress from working the muscles and adapt.
I used to scoff at these “off” days and didn’t see the need. Now I love to take a day, or sometimes two days, away from a normal workout routine to add in a long walk, yoga, or mobility and flexibility work. Thank heavens I began to get a little wiser and realized that beating yourself up every day is not the best way to live better and longer.
I’m not talking about exercise recovery though. Bear with me. A recovery day is not just for recovering from your exercise routine. I want to check in with you on another aspect. I have found that we all need recovery days from simply living our life. Have you thought about this? Unless you live your life on a constant vacation on some beach some where I’ll bet your body, mind, emotions and soul need a rest and recovery day. If this is a new thought, just take a minute and consider.
If you live your days on overdrive, fuelled by adrenaline and in a state of swirl (as one of my friend’s call it), your emotional state is just like those muscles you’ve worked in the gym. Your muscles grow and become stronger when they are allowed to rest. So does your wellbeing.
Learning to live in a pandamic has brought on more stress and chaos than the typical “over the top” way of living most of us had already been experiencing life. I think of mothers with young children at home trying to manage home schooling, juggling work, family members all home working, or not working due to these events, the constant barrage of negativity in the news, disruption of daily life, and then there are those times when you do get out of the house to get groceries . . . and forget your mask. . . . life just keeps coming at you and does not seem to let up.
Even before COVID 19 there was life, in all of its unfairness and difficulties. Life is full of beautiful things and moments, but let’s be honest. It can be hard on good days, full of juggling, issues, daily dramas and, at times, more serious traumas. These things are hovering, ready to pounce and consume and they can creep in and take over unless you can learn to step back in your own way and take some recovery time.
There is a lot of self-care talk floating around. I am all for it, but this is not about massages and bubble baths, although I’m not knocking those one bit. I love a good hot bath! I’m talking about you taking time to step away from whatever is encroaching on you in your own life, put your hand up to it, close the door on it, push it away, get it from the forefront of your mind just long enough for you to get some recovery time. I’ll bet you need some space to let it go so that you then have the clarity and energy to move forward. Allow your being to rest and gather more strength for all that is in front of you. Rest allows you to have the capacity to be who you want to be, who you are meant to be and to wear all those hats you wear daily. . . . and some days the list is endless.
Recovery means different things for different people. During any given week, I’ll bet you have something in your life you need to take some recovery from. And maybe it’s not a full day, maybe it’s an hour, a 5 minute potty break, a 10 minute meditation, a phone call with a friend, coach, counselor, it could be breath work, or even a wallow on the floor with your dog. If I’m sounding a little specific it’s because I’ve used all of these as “tools” to recover from life’s chaos and upheaval. If the words rest and recovery don’t work for you, how about trying this, just be nice to yourself. Give yourself a little break – the same kind of break you would tell your best friend to take. I’ve never been a McDonald’s fan, but didn’t they have that phrase, “Give yourself a break today”? They definitely got something right.
Think about it. What do you need some rest and recovery from? Give it a name and then make yourself take some steps to back away from it. Give your mind, heart, soul and emotions the break from the constant state of stress and adrenaline. Give yourself the means to protect your wellbeing. It is not selfish or lavish. You are helping yourself and your wellbeing stay healthy, strong and continue to grow.
Think of it as foam rolling or yoga for your soul.