Friday, November 5, 2010

Rest is not a 4-letter word.

I am trying to understand what the word "rest" means to me.

Is it synonymous with relax? In which case, I would, ideally, sleep in and then read most of the day. Maybe go for a long leisurely walk or hike.

Or does it mean get in a workout, as usual, but dial down the intensity factor. To me, these are the days that I do yoga, stretch, walk, maybe some light lifting. These are the things that typically define a rest day for me.

Rarely does a rest day mean getting no physical exercise but focusing, instead, on other productive activities (that are not necessarily enjoyable).

Today started out as one of those rare days. I had the whole day to myself. And, while exercising is usually my means of stress relief, my to-do list at home has gotten so long that I'd return from a run and instantly be stressed again by the sheer number of things I still had to do--and had been neglecting (while I was running).

As soon as the kids were on the bus, I got busy and tackled the piles of paperwork and filing in my office. After three hours, the usual thoughts began to creep in: "You've put in three good hours; you still have time for a run. Maybe eat lunch first, do some more work, then get in a short run. If you run now while the kids are in school, you can always get back to these boring chores while they are home."

Eventually I convinced myself that I'd earned a good, speedy walk for all that I'd accomplished this morning. Plus, my dog kept walking into the office and staring at me like I'd forgotten something. Forgotten her. Forgotten to take her for a walk.

So, while I was out walking, a funny thing happened. I felt great; suddenly more energetic. My motivation level ticked up a notch, despite only a trace amount of caffeine in my system (the white and green tea blend I had before lunch--which was a plate of whole wheat spinach pesto pasta with almonds and olive oil).

I am now happy to report that on my day of rest, I was immensely productive in the morning and still had time to walk my dog for 40 mins and get in that short but necessary 1.2 mile run in the Vibrams that I thought would have to wait until tomorrow.

If I'm lucky, I'll still get to lift before the day's over, too! It's good to have a rest day now and then. ;)

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