Last week we discussed the importance of work — especially physicalwork — and it’s impact on the mind and body. This week is a 180; we’re talking about rest. Now, when we discuss training we often talk about recovery in terms of food and sleep. Sleep is a crucial part of rest, indeed, but it’s not the whole picture. Rest is both recovery, in a training sense, and recuperation for your hormonal and mental health.
We know that psychological stress is stress on the body, just like stress from lifting heavy weights, doing a hard conditioning workout, or running a marathon. It’s not as easily quantifiable as a workout, but psychological stress causes elevated cortisol levels, can impair mood, and, gone unchecked, can lead to “burn out,” leaving you in a deep hole mentally and physically.
No one wants that! So Coach D walks through some suggestions for incorporating rest — not just recovery — into your life:
- Disconnect proactively — before you hit the wall, unplug and disengage from your work and media/information consumption. Give yourself down time. Take the time to truly unplug… don’t
- Meditate— it’s proven to increase brain cortex thickness (thus improving cognition and sensorium) and improve memory, willpower and drive
- Try yoga— yoga is a low impact exercise with an emphasis on meditation and serenity. Look for yin yoga classes which emphasize long, slow, relaxing movements with deep stretches — great for lifters!
- Hot bath / sauna— a simple, quiet bath can help you calm down and relax after a stressful day.
- Journaling— documenting your daily wins, struggles, and thoughts can help keep your problems in perspective, and prioritize long-term thinking.
- Set boundaries from digital world — turn off ALL digital devices before bedtime, preferably an hour before. When you take time off from work, disconnect completely. Be clear with clients and coworkers about you availability, and fight the urge to check in when you’re supposed to be off.
- Have sex! It’s not just enjoyable in the moment, it releases hormones that help relieve stress, increase bonding, and strengthen relationships.
These are just a few suggestions. Take some time for yourself, and rest. There’s more to life than work, training, and recovery, but you need to give yourself space and perspective to discover what that is for you.
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