I have a hard time sitting still for more than 7 seconds at a time. My ever-loving and ever-descriptive spouse tells me my brain is like a 50-car pile-up on the highway because I have so many things trying to go through my consciousness at one time, that they all just crash because of how distracted I get.
My dad has called me a jumping bean for as long as I can remember.
And one of my friends looked at me in exasperation last week and said, “You have an attention span smaller than my pinky!” As he held up said pinky.
Well, I can’t help it, guys. Not only do I have tracings of ADD (confirmed by my counselor!) but I love life. I mean, I love it. I love the dancing and the bike riding and the swimming and the paper writing (5 this week) and the book writing and the sushi eating and the joke-making with my mom and everything in between.
My body, however, just said, “Whoooooaaa there, killer. Give it a rest.”
I’m a pretty good listener, you know. I’m a counselor, so I have to be, right? It’s one of my redeeming qualities. But there are four things I don’t listen to: excessive complaining, offensive music, my husband lament about being a middle child, and myself.
By Wednesday, I had logged 40 miles on my bicycle in 4 days – one of those being a 20-miler – and yet I could not.sit.still. My legs were begging me to relax, but I had sat the computer writing those five papers and my brain had me convinced that I needed to get up and run a 5k. I was being lazy if I wasn’t doing hard-core cardio every day. Gotta train for that triathlon! I actually had to put my phone on Do Not Disturb, hide it under my couch (true story), and tell my FB fitness group that I was about to rest for two hours. That way they could hold me accountable. But rest is just as important to a fitness regimen as a training schedule. In fact, rest is built into a training schedule for a reason. I need to take a lesson from my sweet Sam:
And so sometimes, it is okay to be lazy. And by ‘be lazy’, I really mean rest. Because I’m willing to bet that you, yes, you, the one reading this, rarely take the time to actually R.E.L.A.X. No distractions, no obligations, no running here or there, no running period. But our bodies need that time. They need to recuperate from the stress we put ourselves under every.single.day.
It is okay to take two naps in one day, as I did this morning and afternoon. It’s okay to recline in your chair and watch Pitch Perfect while your dog sleeps her 10th hour of the day. It’s okay to take your dog for a walk without taking your phone. (No, really. You think your phone is an appendage, but it’ll be waiting for you when you come back!). It’s okay to say ‘no’ to going somewhere if you need or want time to yourself. That’s not a crime.
I have a post-it on my bathroom mirror that says “Take advantage of the time you are well” with a list of activities I require myself to engage in when I feel healthy. I have this because I used to be sick all the time. It was a rare occasion if I went more than a week with enough energy for consistent activity. Thank you, Jesus, it’s not that way anymore. I have worked hard and am currently the healthiest I’ve ever been in my life. I tell you that so you know, I am just as guilty as you of not taking time to rest. My excuse/self-lie is that I’m making up for lost time. What’s yours? Trying to make sure everyone else is happy? That you don’t let anyone down? That everything needs to get done in time, and that it’s your responsibility to save the world? That if you don’t work out tomorrow morning – even though you’re faithful 99% of the time – your last five pounds will stick to your belly or bottom like congealed cheese to a pizza? No. False, every one of them. There is beauty in the balance of life. People who drink a glass of wine every day aren’t healthier because of the wine, they’re healthier because they’ve incorporated balance into their lives. The woman who treated herself to a massage after her sprint triathlon isn’t relaxed solely because of the massage, she’s relaxed because she took the time to relax. To chill. To be off her phone, lying down, resting.
Give yourself that gift. Sooner rather than later. It’ll make you less harried, it’ll slow your brain down even if just for a moment, and you might just find the rest to be your new favorite ‘activity’ 🙂
Sam’s got it down, for sure. Just one more lesson to learn from my pup!