My wise therapist reminded me that I’ve been doing at least a triathlon worth of trauma healing the past few months. You see, I was profoundly activated by a recent series of events in my life.
Trauma to the surface is a workout
The activation resulted in old, so-far-unhealed pain and trauma rising to the surface. Thankfully, I have tools and patience to be with the pain. I have a kind witness, my therapist, as I navigate feeling and releasing. I’m very grateful that my therapist is not of the variety that thinks it’s essential to mentally analyze and understand it all. Instead, what’s most important is to slow down, feel it and allow my nervous system to reset.
Turns out, slowing down, feeling and allowing the nervous system to reset takes a massive amount of energy. Plus, as I’ve mentioned in other posts, I do at least 10 hours of exercise each week. In other words, every once in a while it’s essential to take a rest.
Time for some rest
Rest days are a bit of a challenge for me due to my type 1 diabetes. Slowing down changes my insulin requirements. Meaning it’s even more important to pay attention to what and how much I am eating and what my blood sugar is doing.
Last Friday, I did a 75 minute weight lifting session with my new personal trainer Erin (she’s AWESOME! More on working with her in a blog to come!) and then I went kayaking on the Mississippi River with my friend Monica.
Needless to say, that was 3.5 hours of intense exercise on Friday. When I woke up on Saturday morning, my intention was to go for a 4 – 5 mile run. My body screamed, “NO!!!”
I had slept well, but my body needed more rest. I stayed in bed a little longer and realized running would actually be counterproductive. My intellect wanted to stick with my written down plan, which was to get up and go run. My body had another message.
Listen to your wise body
Thankfully, I’ve learned to slow down and listen, and trust my body. It really does speak to me. It’s taken 40 years of type 1, two rounds of breast cancer, two broken ankles and countless other physical challenges for me to learn to hear my body wisdom.
Instead of being angry with my body, I nodded and relaxed into allowing myself to take the day as a rest day. I did take Sam on two long, slow walks. I also made it to the grocery store and I cooked some yummy food. Best of all, I read a book I picked up at a Little Free Library. Sam, my dog, his ability to gaze for hours out the window or roll around on the ground in the middle of a walk, he reminds me to slow down and enjoy the world.
A little more rest is okay
When I woke up on Sunday morning, the 4th of July here in the US of A, I had a plan to bike and swim with one of my friends. She cancelled. Instead of plowing ahead, I looked at the weather, and I listened inside and the message was again, “Please take another rest day.” It got up to 98 degrees Fahrenheit with super high humidity. Felt wise to breathe into my body and again take Sam on a few long, slow walks. I also had two dear friends over for a healthy, home cooked dinner. The laughter and conversation was an added refresher to my body and spirit. Since Sam, my dog, hates the pops and loud bangs of the fireworks, he and I spent much of the night awake. CBD chews helped him from shaking non-stop, but he was too agitated to sleep. So we stayed awake, Sam in my arms.
Rest is a good payoff
Turns out, rest pays off. Time off and slowing down and allowing the body to recover and recuperate really does help in the long run. It allows the body to heal and repair. If you’d like to read a more detailed article about how and when to take some rest, here’s a great post by Jason Koop of Train Right.
Refreshed at last
After two solid days of active rest, I woke up feeling profoundly refreshed and ready to get back to my routine. My body is thankful.
How about you, do you take rest days when you need them? Please let me know. I value our back and forth.
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