We have mentioned in different ways on Kettlebelle the importance of relaxing , allowing your body and mind to recover . Taking time to unwind destress , breathe and let go of negativity . So often I reiterate to my clients the importance of stress management and the absolute top of the wellness pile getting plenty of SLEEP . I’ve written posts and blogs outlining sleep tips that can really help ,when applied consistently and properly ( see what I did there) . I’m admittedly guilty of do as I say not as I do from time to time when it comes to the land of sleep and stress!
Relax, recover, unwind, rest, destress ….
Its taken me travelling to the other side of the world to finally embrace the full application of these words that I know and use so often. To really comprehend how much unnecessary pressure and stress I still put myself under . I know I am far from alone in this as I witness it daily with friends , loved ones and clients .
I have definitely made strides forward in learning to manage stress and pressure I put on myself and the subsequent anxiety! Some things are just part of who I am and learning to accept them and that they are not negative traits is cathartic in itself . I’ll always be a bit of a worrier and over thinker and that’s ok . I realised who I am is not the problem. It’s what I do and how I channel it that makes the difference . There is a lot I can improve and develop to be a happier healthier person. Who doesn’t want that right? Maybe its learning when to stop doing that’s the trick?!
I am currently travelling New Zealand for just under a month with my Kiwi other half. This is the first time in over 13 years that I’ve taken a complete break like this from work. It is also be the first time in over 4 years that Ive taken a break like this from regular training. This was exciting but also if I’m honest a bit daunting . I found myself being concerned about not training and being out of my normal routine with work, blogging, nutrition, exercise, keeping up with friends . This should have immediately highlighted to me that perhaps this break was exactly what I needed . HIT THE RESET BUTTON!
How often do we think we have everything under control but any change to our routine and we get heart racey and stressed? I found on the lead up to my trip I was thinking about how I could do some work or fit in some training etc….I had to remind myself this was supposed to be a break and that should mean a break that its ok to relax and switch off sometimes. Easier said than done .
It took me until about 8 days in to really accept that , to relax , breathe take it all in and let it all go . That switching off and removing all my normal routines and perceived ideas of what I need to do or want to get done was exactly what I needed . The guilt of not doing something that involved work or studying or training when I had the chance subsided. Luckily I have some of the most beautiful scenery in the world helping me to put everything into perspective . Nature is one hell of a calming force that can be incredibly humbling.
When we actually made it into a drop in at Crossfit assuming our stiff overfed bodies would struggle the opposite was actually true . Everything felt great ….. why? Because we were relaxed , recovered , pressure free and for me sleep has been the best I’ve had consistently in years. I had one night of really broken sleep and it happened to be when I was on the computer right before bed and worrying about trying to make plans/ work etc . If I can’t take a lesson from that then I’m ignoring some seriously clear signs that I really need to tweak my priorities a wee bit regarding my recovery. Time to practice what I preach and prioritise mental and physical relaxation and deloading.
Take a good look at how you relax , work towards really letting go of all you think is on top of you and accept that taking a break and switching off is ok . Granted you can’t just not go to work and you don’t need to travel to the other side of the world but when you feel you are burning out listen to your body and mind. An occasional yoga class, self-help book or breathing drill is not enough if not applied consistently over time and new better habits are developed . If you get a an opportunity to get away maybe make it about truly allowing yourself to just be , no emails , work or intense activity. Yes the gym can be your happy place and a release but if you are feeling physically or mentally exhausted or finding yourself getting frustrated maybe rethink your training and recovery and why you love it . Maybe that will help you to continue to love it . Maybe these breaks and practiced stress management will make you generally more productive as well as happier?
Start small by a few hours a week of switching off from everything that stresses you out or makes you feel under pressure . People , work , training even . In work when things get on top of you or you find yourself mindlessly staring or mentally blocked and stressing , get up go for a walk do something take yourself away from the stress. Try Michelle’s recent suggestions about a social media break every week or using your time more wisely when you are on the luas . I have applied that one myself by listening to a back log of nutrition Pod Casts I had been eager to get through while on the luas and its been such a positive change to my day .
Add up all that time of mindless scrolling and add in mindful relaxation and self-care or development . Don’t distract unless it leads to a feeling of well-being , relaxation or renewed productivity. Listen to your mind and body rest it when it needs and nourish it well continue to learn and be open to lessons . These are not one-off applications . They need to be part of your life.
I the words of the inspiring Maya Angelou “Do the best you can until you know better , then when you know better do better”
Now I move forward to do better . Maybe you can do something today that helps you feel better and continue to do better.