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  • Writer's pictureMindy McCarthy

Listen to your Body. Talk Back to you Mind

As someone who is a very routine person, I find myself doing the same things each day. Most days during the week, I wake up at 4:30 to exercise before starting my work day. I am in the gym by 5 ready to go. After the gym, I come home to eat some breakfast and walk my dog. Then, it is off to get ready for the work day and be out of the door again.

Last week, I found myself feeling more drained than usual. I would be driving in the car feeling exhausted, which is certainly not a good thing! I would constantly skip songs that were playing if they weren’t getting me awake enough, and I started chewing gum more while driving to help make me feel more awake than I was. Even during my work day while answering emails or doing something else on my computer, I found myself struggling to focus because I was not feeling awake and “hype” about what I was working on.

These were some signs to me that something was off. I needed more rest (enjoy this adorable picture of me and my pup napping together!). My body was trying to tell me that I needed to take some time off or even adjust my schedule somehow because what I was doing was not good for my system. Feeling drained and not getting enough rest, especially during a global pandemic, can lead to getting sick and depleting my immune system.

When I first began thinking about taking some days off to get some rest, that is when these negative and judgmental thoughts began filling my mind. Mantras like, “No days off” seemed to be scrolling through my thoughts as if to say that I cannot take any rest days. I also began feeling like a failure. I’m four weeks into a new workout program that I was thoroughly enjoying, and now I was contemplating taking a week off from that. What would happen to my progress? Would I have to start over again? Would I have to regress to some lower weights due to these rest days?

These were all of the thoughts that I was experiencing while thinking about how I was feeling so drained. The truth is, though, I needed to listen to my body and talk back to my mind.

If you ask anyone who has done extensive training like professional athletes, they will tell you the importance of resting. Ask Olympic runners how often they nap, for example. Knowing that information, though, my mind was still telling me that I should be getting up early to get my workout in even if I am feeling this way.

When you find yourself experiencing these thoughts, think about ways that you can prove these thoughts wrong. For me, it was reminding myself that rest is important no matter what kind of goals I am focusing on. Even though I was not suffering from a true injury, it was as if I needed some time to recover somehow.

There is so much information that we can learn from listening to our bodies, especially when it is time to dial things back a little bit. However, don’t let your mind tell you that you are a failure for doing so. Find counter arguments to talk back to these thoughts that come to mind.

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