When I take an unscheduled day off, I tend to run through every self-inflicted insult in the book: slacker, failure, weakling, blah blah blah...the list goes on.
I touched on this the other day, and the more I think about it, the more I feel like rest days are a crucial element to self-care and overall health. Taking care of myself involves that one word -- care -- that I've often withheld from the woman I see in the mirror. I care about, and I care for, other people, but rarely do I do the same for myself.
The rest days.
Although the "Type A on 'roids" motif is obviously part of the equation, I also lay some of the blame at the feet of the fitness industry (for lack of a better description). I feel like I'm constantly being bombarded with messages about the importance of never making excuses, having no mercy, leaving it all on the gym floor, being an Ironwoman-worthy fitness warrior, etc. Frankly, all that insanity has made me lose perspective.
- Am I in pain? If yes, is it just an issue of muscle soreness, or is it something (i.e., bones, ligaments, tendons, joints) that could turn into an injury if I push it too hard? If it's the latter, every doctor worth their board certification -- and, as a bonus for those of us (*sheepishly raises hand*) who come hard-wired with a ferocious case of Catholic guilt, the Baby Jesus -- would totally approve of rest.
- Did I sleep more than 6 hours last night? If no, permission is granted to abandon the gym and, instead, commune with a pillow.
- Do I feel like I'm coming down with something? If yes, go directly to the couch. Do not pass go, and do not collect $300. Go directly to the couch.
- Am I just plain exhausted? Am I mentally/physically/emotionally worn out? Unless I feel like a workout will help me deal with whatever has me feeling so drained, pushing myself through bone-crushing exhaustion is likely to work out as well as Kim Kardashian's marriages.
Self-care, my friends, is where it's at.*
*And now I'm all twitchy about having ended that sentence with a preposition. I'm going to force myself to not edit it. Aaaaaack!