I’m headed it of town this weekend, and if you’re part of my Instagram community (and read my wordy and lengthy posts!), you know I get some “will I get everything done” anxiety. Worrying about what might happen just isn’t fun, nor productive!
And when I was finally able to put this into words it made me think back to some thoughts that occurred to me several weeks ago….
I was laying by the pool over July 4th weekend just staring into space. I caught myself thinking “I’ve spent more time sleeping and staring into space this weekend than I have over the last 8 weeks combined.” My mind just shut off and didn’t want to do anything.
But before long, I found myself feeling guilty for all the time I spent mindlessly staring into space and dozing off mid-movie or at the beach. I wasn’t going to grow my practice or build my business by staring off into no mans land… I wasn’t going to grow the incredible community I’ve built on Instagram or get ahead with my blog… But since when is doing nothing not OK?
When I caught these thoughts pouring into my relaxation time I had to seriously stop myself. For once, I caught myself in the act and gave myself a stern talking to… “It’s okay, Chelsey, you’ve been working on overdrive. Your body needs time to just rest.”
Since I’ve been working full-time at Healthie and building my private practice on the side and running this blog and loving social media and consulting with brands, I’ve been running myself to the point of exhaustion.
And I know I’m not alone.
But I finally accepted that my — and your — body needs to relax just as much as it needs to workout. As a much as I need to sleep 8 hours a night, I need to relax when I’m awake. As much as I need to eat the foods that make my body feel it’s best, I need to relax.
And when I gave myself the “pass,” (but why it’s still a pass, I have yet to figure out!) it was suddenly more relaxing to stare into space, soak in the sun (with SPF 50, of course) and be soothed by the sound of the small waterfall into the pool.
Finding time to slow down, take a break, and completely listen to your body will help you be happier, healthier and more peaceful in work and play.
Let’s reclaim carefree summer living! And I know anyone close to me reading this will be like “yeah right, Chelsey,” and yes, since this realization I still work tons and I still don’t sleep enough and I’m still figuring out how to fit in the workouts I enjoy doing, but I’m trying to enjoy the quiet weekend moments, the moments of relaxation and the moments of me and us time by being fully present.
But what if you feel like there’s not enough time in the day for everything?? There isn’t, which is why it’s OK to skip your workout when you feel like you’ve hit a wall (like I’ve done most days this week). It’s OK to go to bed earlier. It’s OK to just lay on your couch and do nothing.
Our bodies weren’t meant to be on the go 24/7, like many of us do. It’s trendy to hustle… to be a workaholic… and I’m not telling you not to. But it’s also admirable to take care of yourself, listen to your body and do what’s best for YOU when you need it.
So here are 3 scientifically-proven reasons relaxation is just as important as your workout:
1. To balance your hormones
We’re so stressed. I see it with my family and friends, I see it with my clients and I see it with myself. I used to say that I thrive off of stress, but as I’ve gotten older (and wiser??), I’ve learned that this chronic stress is detrimental to my health.
When you’re chronically stressed, your stress hormones (especially cortisol) remain consistently elevated, instead of ebbing and flowing like they are supposed to with the rhythm of life. You’re always in that “fight or flight” mode, which was created for circumstances when humans literally needed to fight or flight (AKA run away from danger)… not go to work for 16 hours a day, feel pressured to workout every day and still maintain a social life, family responsibilities… you get the picture!
Not to mention, vigorous exercise is also a form of physiological stress and despite that exercise can be a great stress reliever, if you’re stressed about squeezing in your spin class… not so much. So taking mindful pauses throughout the day – or at least throughout the week – is essential for you to get into the routine of staying calm during everyday stressful situations.
2. Because sleep makes you healthier
Catching up on those zzzz’s can actually help you maintain a healthy weight and reduce your risk of chronic diseases. A new study showed that catching up on your zzzz’s over the weekend or on vacation can be a good thing for your health. I used to think that it was best to go to sleep and wake up at the same time 7 days a week (although that rarely happened in my reality!), but new research sheds light on the fact that if you’re constantly under-sleeping (less than 7-9 hours/night), then sleeping in may benefit your health!
3. Your body needs time to rejuvenate
You are a living, breathing thing (duh!), and to get and stay as healthy as possible, you need to treat your body properly! Just like eating a proper balance of nutrients is essential to remained well balanced and healthy, your cells need time to use these nutrients – not in a period of stress (i.e.: when working out) – to turnover and rejuvenate so your body works like the well-oiled machine it’s supposed to.
So rest, relax and listen to what your body is telling you it needs!!!