If you’re reading this, you’re unlikely to be a stranger to fitness training. Early mornings, cross – fitting, yoga, F45, boxing, the “working lunch”, resistance training, running, swimming, post – work work – outs, cycling, power walks… whatever your fitness routine & goals are, today I wanted to remind you to REST. Yes, REST!
With our increasingly hectic schedules and rigid routines, we forget that sometimes in order to actually recover fully, we need to allow ourselves time and space to do it.
I’ve put together some questions for you that you need to answer honestly to figure out if your pushing your boundaries TOO far:
■ Do you arrive at the gym/training with a notably different strength tolerance than you had last week?
■ Do you feel guilty if you miss a training session or don’t push yourself as hard as you wanted?
■ Do you drop social plans in order to work – out?
■ Do you feel pressured to maintain your “perfect” body from friends/family/colleagues/work associates?
■ Do you critique your body every morning in the mirror?
■ Do you weigh yourself every day?
■ Do you count ever calorie?
■ Do you cut macronutrients/food groups in order to achieve goals?
■ Do you take ridiculous amounts of supplements in order to achieve body goals?
■ Do you often have trouble sleeping, even though you feel exhausted?
■ Does your body feel fatigued upon waking up?
■ Do you suffer from constant illness or recurring injury?
■ Do you notice a significant drop in strength in your sessions for an unjust reason?
■ Are you secretly a battery operated robot ninja (thus being exempt from rest)?
■ Do you push yourself to train even when you feel like you need to rest?
If you’ve answered “yes” to more than three of these questions, you need to learn something important: Relaxation.
It seems simple, but you’d be surprised at how hard it can be to just switch off and enjoy stillness, while fighting off that anxiety associated. Trust me, you’re not alone.
So today, I’ve rounded up some great ideas that have been tried and tested in order to get into that chill zone:
□ “Vamos a la playa” (let’s go to the beach). Getting in touch with nature and listening the gentle roar of the waves can take uuber amounts of weight off your shoulders in an instant. The sand between your toes, and the ocean washing over you will freshen you up like nothing else can. Plus a gentle walk/swim will still induce endorphins.
□ Long warm baths with essential oils like lavender, rose or anything that you associate with calm. Light some candles, add some bubbles, turn your phone off, and maybe even spice things up by sharing it with a lover. Add a little olive/coconut oil to the mix if you want to plump up the moisture content in your skin.
□ Take a day off stimulants – coffee, black tea, green tea (check if it’s caffeinated), chocolate, pre workouts, maca powder, simple sugars, high fructose fruits… there all mess with our make up, and can play havoc on emotions and mental state.
□ Have a “tech-detox”. I love this one personally, and find it extremely freeing. No emails/messages/phone calls/social media – nothing. Try at least 1-2 hours at a time per week, and if you can, make Sunday a WHOLE day of rest. You’ll be surprised how much you reconnect to yourself, loved ones and nature when you’re not glued to a device (or 3).
□ Reinvent yourself. Go through your wardrobe and throw away anything you associate with a person you don’t like – “fat clothes”, ill fitting garments, I’ll colours that don’t make your complexion shine, old clothes that make you feel poor, labels that don’t align with you or anything that might remind you of a past event you would rather forget. Material possessions carry emotions, and you’re essentially re – wearing them (yes, even if they’re laundered). Sell them on Ebay if you can, or donate them to a worthy cause to get a nice little karmic upper.
□ Stretch… get yourself to a yin yoga class, buy a foam roller, a “block” or even a tennis ball and learn some great techniques to massage your limbs. There are several great slow postures that stimulate the internal organs and help revitalize a sluggish metabolism often caused by stress.
□ Breath. It sounds simple, but how often to you really pay attention to your breath? How deep is it? How fast is it? Take five minutes and sit somewhere you won’t be disturbed with your eyes closed, focused on the point between your eyes/nose. Slowly inhale for a count of five while expanding your belly; hold for a moment and then exhale and push all of that air from your abdomen. Repeat 5-10 times. Open your eyes after and notice the reconnected feeling. It works. Trust me.
□ Walk a phone call. You’re bored at home, lonely, and it’s a beautiful day. Why not call a friend you haven’t seen for a while and reconnect for a “walk around the block”? Of course, this is a great little gem in the physical realms too.
□ Brush up on your tantra. Yep, I said it. Tantric sex is a lot more than just a physical connection though, and really established the intimacy between lovers. It’s about slow engagement, working with your breath in unison, sensual touch and experimentation. It’s an area that can improve not only your heightened orgasm, but the trust and appreciation you have for each other as beings. Google it, expand your mind, take it slow, get a blindfold even.
□ Write. Like, on paper. If you’re someone who often has a “monkey mind” you’ll appreciate this. Getting all of those unsettling, nervous, scattered thoughts out of your head and onto paper can make them a lot easier to deal with once they’re written down. Try writing a “to do list” at the start of your day/week and then ticking them off as you go. It’s breaks down large tasks, and you can add easy ones in their like “have lunch” to make the list less daunting (and more achievable). I like to do it at night sometimes too to get the scatter brain de-teched and allow a peaceful sleep.
□ Nourish. Yep, back to basics. A girl/guy needs to eat right? Right. Instead of paleo/vegan/celeaic/sefcaterian, how about you just listen to what your body wants and damn well feed it. I get that people have dietary restrictions, but remember that the body needs to get a variety of nutrients to function at its best too.
□ Massage some white tiger balm on the back of your neck at the end of the day, down into your shoulders. If you have lower back pain, dab some onto those stress prone spots and enjoy the cool sensation that follows.
□ Blow bubbles, fly a kite, roll down a hill, ride a bike, do a handstand, dance on a train or generally just DO SOMETHING SILLY. Let your inner child shine and enjoy the simplicity of laughing at yourself having fun.
That’s just a few to get you started, but if you feel you can add to the list, feel free to comment and tell me your favourite way to calm your way into a relaxation coma.
Sending peaceful vibes your way,