You know that saying…. “Do as I say, not as I do?” Well, that just about sums up our Colorado trip. I had full intention on taking time off from work projects to focus on getting a little rest and being a good Sherpa wife to the Kiwi. But what I realized is that I have a hard time saying no, even when I’m fully aware that I need to. In my mind, I hear “work more, save more, work more, save more” (money that is). But even with that mentality, one can be left feeling depleted (ME). It wasn’t until a week into our trip that I realized I was doing just that. I wasn’t even giving myself a chance to slow down. And when I don’t slow down, I can’t be there to help my husband when he needs me. Which is the whole point of this training at altitude trip to begin with.
Thank goodness I have friends who keep me real and helped me realize how I was RUSHING, not UNRUSHING. Needless to say, the second part of the trip was all about being present.
So today I wanted to talk about the gift of rest. And lucky for me, I have a good friend and fellow Sherpa wife (Tara) who speaks from experience and is here to share tips on HOW TO REALLY EMBRACE REST!
Hi! My name is Tara and I am a Performance and Lifestyle Coach. I help individuals, families, entrepreneurs, and athletes leverage key strengths to achieve greater success in their personal and professional lives. My blog, Family Sport Life, focuses on personal leadership, productivity, organization, healthy living, parenting and triathlon. I hold a Master’s Degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology and 15+ years experience in Corporate Leadership Development.
I am a skilled life juggler, a mom to “The A Team”, and a proud Sherpa Wife to my husband (and co-author) John. I am passionate about living an authentic life. In addition, I enjoy running, reading, skiing, paddle boarding, travel, organizing pretty much everything, and game night with my family.
When I received a message from Lindsay asking me to guest post for her, I was honored and quickly asked what she wanted me to write about. She responded with “How to embrace rest. Physical and Mental.” I responded with three letters “L-O-L.”
You see, I am about 4 months into the long journey of healing from Adrenal Fatigue. Adrenal fatigue is what happens when mental, emotional, and/or physical stress causes your adrenal gland to stop functioning the way it should.
- Extreme exhaustion making it hard to get out of bed on some days.
- Digestive problems.
- Brain fog.
- A number of different “itis’” – plantar fasciitis and tendonitis of the supraspinatus
- Disrupted sleep.
- Here are some other symptoms that might indicate your adrenals are broken.
Trust me when I say this really threw a monkey wrench in my life plan to be Super Mom and Super Sherpa Wife (yep, I have a crazy age-group triathlete husband)!
I am almost positive I have been suffering with busted up adrenals for years (like 6!). However, it wasn’t until this year when my body started to completely break down did I seek the care of a Naturopath. Breakdown means every itis a runner can have and collapsing with pneumonia while training for a 10 miler. The level of fatigue I was suffering from not only impacted my physical performance but it impacted my mental and emotional performance.
So, here I am in recovery, much like any other recovery – taking it one day at a time. Some days I spring out of bed and have consistent energy throughout the day. Other days, not so much. The silver lining is I have finally started to have more “spring out of bed days” than “not so much” days.
As a recovering perfectionist, recovering overcomplicator, recovering “no rest for the wicked” kind of person I should feel ill equipped to write a blog post on embracing rest from a physical and mental perspective. But I have to tell you, in the last 4 months, I have turned my life upside down looking for ways to heal and create long lasting habits to help me embrace rest.
Here are some of my lessons learned when it comes to How to Embrace Rest:
Be honest. For me there is a lot of fear around rest. Fear of being lazy. Fear of missing something. Fear of becoming sedentary. Fear of not being all things to all people. Ask yourself “what are my fears around rest?” Honesty with ourselves is an important step on our journey for self-awareness. Self-awareness is the first step in creating personal change.
SLEEP. We all know that we should be getting between 7-9 hours of rest. However, this just scratches the surface on what we need to be practicing when it comes to sleep. Dr. Covey, author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, tells us to start with the end in mind. In other words, from the time you rise think about how every action you take throughout the day might affect your sleep. Looking at the behaviors that might affect your sleep throughout the day (i.e. food, life stress, physical stress, mental stress) will help you create better daily routines that will aid in getting the best night sleep.
Promote Better Mind/Body Connection. Confession: I have found this is where I have a tremendous disconnect. It probably is deeply rooted in my fears mentioned above. I tend to mentally push myself well past my physical limits. There are a lot of great ways to promote a better mind/body connection like yoga, meditation, and journaling. I do all these things but what has been working even better – monitoring my Heart Rate Variability to give me an objective view of my body’s stress. I use the Sweet Beat Life app and a Bluetooth heart rate strap. Measurement is on a scale of 0 – 100. On my best days, I am around an 85. On my bad days, I may be in the 50’s. I can then look at what factors might have contributed to my score so I know what I can improve in the future. It is immediate and clear feedback.
Strive to uncomplicate your life. One of the best books I have read lately is Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown (video link). He teaches his readers to become Essentialists who focus on the “less but better” mantra. Nothing has done more to heal my symptoms than eliminating the grey area in my life. It’s either a “heck yes” or it is a no. This way I ensure my focus is only on the critical few.
Unplug. Don’t worry, I am not going to bash your iPhone. The world we live in has shifted. We have shifted from growing and producing things to what is now being referred to as a “knowledge economy.” This means there is an overabundance of information available to us and we are required to consume it. Many of us, whether we realize it or not, have become voracious consumers of content with very little cognitive rest periods. We are now self-directing our own learning and probably haven’t given much thought to the pace of our education. As I become more mindful of this myself, I have been scheduling one day a week for intensive learning. Additionally, I have been scheduling daily blackout periods where I unplug or minimize my connectivity. Don’t forget to lose yourself in a good book just for the fun of it!
Support. THE MOST important of all the lessons I have learned. Find people who support your vision of wellness and who will encourage you to rest. We are lucky to be living in a big world connected by the interwebs. If the support doesn’t exist in your immediate circle, find on-line friends. You can always hang out with me and Lindsay. We love to encourage people and share how we are learning to take better care of ourselves through proper rest.
You can Find More of Tara and FamilySportLife Here:
- Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/FSLblog
- Twitter – https://twitter.com/familysportlife
- Instagram– http://instagram.com/familysportlife
What lessons have you learned about embracing mental and physical rest?
[Tweet “Honest Tips on How to Embrace Mental and Physical Rest @familysportlife via @LCCotter #fitfluential”]
Sherpa Wife Cotter