Do you ever feel like the day is a race?
It begins with the jolt of an alarm clock and doesn’t stop until our head hits the pillow.
We forget to stop and relax. Forget to breathe. Forget to find the pause.
Our bodies are brilliantly crafted to handle the stresses we throw at them. A cascade of chemicals kick in to get us out of harm’s way and perform incredible feats of strength when necessary.
But every high is accompanied by a low and we cannot run at this speed continuously.
We have to stop and recharge. We have to learn how to relax.
If we stop and listen, we’ll see how this natural pause is perfectly programmed into our lives.
Every breathe has a built-in pause. Training intervals are followed by recovery. An abundant summer is followed by winter.
But the faster we move, the harder it is to stop.
We fear losing control, getting fat or weak or having to deal with difficult feelings.
So we promptly fill these pauses with Facebook and commitments and another interval or two to cancel out dessert.
Keep pushing the pedal to the floor and the body eventually responds with injury, sickness or disease.
But when we see a day or a year as cyclical, it’s easier to see where these pauses should naturally occur. For every up there is a down. Every on, a corresponding off.
Our bodies need to feel nourished and supported. Maintaining race weight year-round or chronically neglecting sleep is unsustainable.
Taking a break doesn’t necessarily mean taking hours or days to recharge. Start small. Take three long, deep breaths when you get into your car. Sneak in a 20-minute nap or 10 minute meditation. Or use the power of the pause after each set of exercises to check in with your form or do a quick reset.
Eat a little extra if that’s what your body is craving. Skip a workout occasionally if you’re feeling exhausted. Or go for a walk instead.
Be mindful of these natural pauses and use them as a quick opportunity to recharge and check in with your body. Start listening and you might be surprised by what you hear.