Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Your Body Talks. Listen!

Athletes know, or they should know, that sometimes you have to rest.  The same applies to those of us whose work isn’t physical.  Creatives need rest too.  So do daters, parents, teachers and pretty much anyone else you can think of.  Or maybe you fit several of these categories.  We all have many roles.  And it can really get physically tiring. 

This is my take on some of Jayme Otto’s top 10 indicators, signaling the body’s need for rest, for runners and non-runners.

* Elevated heart rate creates physical stress that interferes with running.  It also interferes with thinking, reasoning and engaging with others.  We usually call it anxiety.  It gets in the way.  How do you de-stress?
* Insufficient sleep.  Need I say more?
* Lack of energy.  You just don’t have the get-up-and-go.  You can feel it.  You have to identify which factors may be depleting you (e.g., poor diet, interrupted sleep, stress) and take appropriate action, including REST.
* Moodiness.  Irritability, anxiety, depression and other negative mood states interfere with performance.  You may have to get to the core, but rest may also do the trick.
*Dehydration is a factor for athletes, but it also affects performance for all of us.  You just don’t have the energy if you don’t drink enough water.  Headaches can result from dehydration.  As Otto points out, you can tell if you pee is dark yellow.  Seriously.
* Physical state.  Illness, PMS or injury will affect how much energy you have to get the job done.  Recognize it and don’t push it.
* Performance.  Having a bad day at work or at home tells you something is wrong.  Try to identify what’s contributing to the difficulty.

Of course, you can’t just skip work (or maybe a day, call it a mental health day) or your job as a parent or partner.  But you may be able to catch some respite by getting some help or offloading some of your responsibilities.

Otto also points out that too much rest isn’t helpful. If you’re a runner, you try to cross-train on rest days.  When you take a rest from your usual work or activities, it makes sense to engage in something else that stretches and nourishes you in a different way.   Be creativeRead a novel, catch a few movies, go out with the friends, visit a museum.  Vacations, day trips and novel activities are ways to try to replenish and rest from your usual demands.

I’m So Tired.  The Beatles

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