Let’s talk about rest days

May 3, 2016 in Recovery

Hi guys and happy Tuesday! I don’t like intros, so we’re going to just jump into this post today, even though it may just seem like a bunch of rambling… hehe

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REST DAYS! You know, those days where you don’t hit the gym or maybe those days where you just binge watch netflix all day. Basically, those days where you don’t get any “formal” type of exercise in. Those days that give our bodies some rest, which is something that is CRUCIAL for our bodies and our physical and mental wellbeing!

Once upon a time, rest days were the bane of my existence. Heck, I didn’t even take them! I had to workout every single day for x amount of hours and burn x amount of calories, because if I didn’t, I had this belief that I would balloon up and get “fat.” So there I was, killing myself with a workout every single day, putting my body through hell and back just because  I thought that if I had a day without exercise I would become large. At the time, I thought this was rational. At the time, I could not believe how one could go a day without exercise… how one could go a day without sweating?? It was all mind-boggling to me.

There was also a time where I was at a healthy weight, yet rest days were still incredibly hard for me. I would feel more guilty for eating those days, I would feel bad about my body, and I would just feel so disgusting and lazy. The days where I worked out, everything seemed to be together… I felt great about my body, I was in the best mood, and I didn’t feel guilt in regards to what I ate. I would still take rest days, but BOY was it a huge mental battle, and boy did it put me in some really bad moods and make me feel lousy.

Finding peace with rest days was not easy in the slightest. It was a struggle, there were days where I felt okay with just relaxing and doing nothing but on some of those days I would feel so lazy and like I should be moving and getting in a workout. Like every other obstacle in life, it was an up and down battle. There were some rest days where I was like, “Yes!! I just love relaxing today and I feel so comfy and great about myself.” Then there were others where I was like, “I feel so lazy and disgusting. I have sat too much today and have just watched TV when I could have been doing something else…” But with time, and with changing my thought process and understanding that I DO need rest, things got a whole heck of a lot easier. I never thought that I would overcome the mental struggles that rest days brought along, because I struggled with this for SO long. Since I was 14, I felt this pressure to work out and push myself to the extreme. I feel as if this came along with the atmosphere of competitive gymnastics, but it stuck with me for a great deal of time. “Push, push, push… until you can’t push anymore! Do one more rep, hold it for another 30 seconds! Keep going!!” I had this mentality for a long time, that I always had to push myself and if I didn’t I was a failure. I am so, so thankful that I got out of this mentality, and I am so, so thankful that I am now able to realize the beauty of rest.

Fast forward to last week: I took 4 rest days in a row because I was sick. There used to be times when I would work out when I was sick… heck, I exercised with the flu once! I took 4 rest days in a row, and absolutely NOTHING happened to my body. If I didn’t rest, my sickness would have just lingered. My body needed that rest! Your body NEEDS rest regardless of the situation- you require rest and recovery time. You require time of just doing nothing, of just relaxing. It is SO important to give yourself that time. Now, I take about 3 rest days a week. I don’t compare how many rest days I take to someone else, because as we all know: comparison is a deathly trap. Some weeks, I take more rest days than others. When I vacation, my workouts are thrown off and that is how it should be! When you go on vacation, you should not prioritize working out over spending time with others. When I am busy with school, I don’t workout as much sometimes. Some weeks I may workout a little more, maybe an extra yoga class, maybe lifting weights for a bit longer during one workout: and that’s okay too, because BALANCE! I am not obsessive with the way I workout, I do not compare one workout to the other and feel guilty if I do a bit less one time compared to another time. I listen to my body. And I know that is such a cliché saying, but it really is true. You have to listen to your body. If working out ever feels like a chore or something that you have to do; something that you dread- do not force yourself into that gym. Working out should be enjoyable, it should be FUN. Getting myself into this mindset was so challenging, because I felt that working out was like a chore and that if I wasn’t dying by the end of the workout, it did absolutely nothing.

“Friendly reminder that it is perfectly okay if the only exercise you get today is flipping the pages of a book or stirring your tea or smiling with friends. Wellbeing means your WHOLE body. Make sure your soul is getting as much exercise as your glutes.”

This quote really hit home for me, and it is SUCH an important reminder. Rest days are just as essential as working out is. If you aren’t resting, your body is going to get sore and worn out. If you are doing something over and over again, it isn’t going to be fun… and if you are working out over and over again day in and day out… I can guarantee you that you aren’t going to have that much fun- and life is too short for that. It is just as important to sit and do nothing, to read a book and to binge watch your favorite netflix show and spend time with friends as it is to hit the gym for an early morning workout. You need rest for your mental and physical health. Rest days are essential to remain whole.

Time really does heal wounds, and I thank god every day to be in the place I am today. Because 3 years ago, I would have been in that gym with a fever and ear infection working out. 2 years ago, I would have had the biggest mental battle with whether I should workout or not, and I would have been engulfed in guilt for not working out; I would have felt so lazy. But this year? I napped. I watched One Tree Hill. I snuggled with my doggies. I was finally at peace, and boy, was it just so amazing.

No questions today, but would love to hear your thoughts on this! Have an amazing day friends! 🙂 

Hope you have a great Sunday guys!

Sending my love as always.

Xoxo

Lyss<3

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30 Comments

  • Reply Marina @ A Dancer's Live-It May 3, 2016 at 11:29 am

    I totally agree, there were some days that I felt like I should’ve been doing something else instead of resting and some days it’s STILL a struggle. But yes, wellbeing means your WHOLE body. 🙂 Snuggling with puppies is WAY better, I agree <3 Have an awesome Tuesday babe!! xoxo

    • Reply Alyssa May 4, 2016 at 12:37 am

      Thank you so much Marina for your kind words 🙂 Truly appreciate it and thank you for reading!! Hope you had a fantastic day girly!

  • Reply Stephanie May 3, 2016 at 12:28 pm

    Alyssa what a wonderful post! I remember those days like a nightmare, and I too, am so happy that you
    have come to peace with just resting and relaxing! I thankful for you wanting to tell the world about your journey so it will be of help to others!

    • Reply Alyssa May 4, 2016 at 12:37 am

      Thank you so much mom, we have truly been through so much together and look at us now- we’ve both come so far!! I love you, you are the best mom I could ask for <3

  • Reply Emily May 3, 2016 at 1:40 pm

    Rest days are so essential, but I still struggle with feeling guilty when I take them, if it’s not on Sunday. This was good for me to see, and I’m going to come back later and read it in depth, because it is something I need to learn and grow in, by God’s grace. <3 Thank you for being an example of learning to rest. GOD is in control Lyss! 🙂

    • Reply Alyssa May 4, 2016 at 12:34 am

      Thank you Emily, and I know that taking rest days will become easier for you with time! Love you Emily! You are an amazing girl <3

  • Reply Julia @ Lord Still Loves Me May 3, 2016 at 3:46 pm

    It is wonderful to watch you thrive and grow in your recovery Lyss.

    • Reply Alyssa May 4, 2016 at 12:33 am

      Thank you so much Julia!! Truly means a lot to me <3

  • Reply Taylor May 3, 2016 at 4:19 pm

    Such an important topic, Lyss. I used to be the same way and never take rest days. I now truly appreciate rest days and enjoy them. I know my body needs to rest and it is so good for me. Sometimes the struggle is more mental than it is physical to not exercise. Great post.

    • Reply Alyssa May 4, 2016 at 12:33 am

      The struggle is definitely more mental than it is physical to not exercise… couldn’t agree with you more on that! Thank you so much for your support Taylor <3

  • Reply Liv @ Healthy Liv May 3, 2016 at 6:51 pm

    Great post, Lyss! I’ve had a similar journey with exercise and taking rest days and it’s so wonderful to not feel like I HAVE to workout or who knows what would happen?! (Turns out the answer is…nothing happens. so good to be able to recognize and accept!)

    • Reply Alyssa May 4, 2016 at 12:32 am

      Exactly! feeling like you have to work out is never, ever a good feeling. And you are right, nothing does happen when we take a day off here and there! Thanks for reading Liv!

  • Reply sarah May 3, 2016 at 11:01 pm

    I needed to read this today. Thank you for being you Lyss <3

    • Reply Alyssa May 4, 2016 at 12:30 am

      You are the best, thank you for being YOU girly! Much love <3

  • Reply Kristy @ Southern In Law May 3, 2016 at 11:03 pm

    Rest days are so so important – especially when you’re sick! I also think unplanned rest is important. On days where you start working out and just aren’t feeling it, STOP! Listen to your body and not a scheduled plan – our bodies don’t have calendars!

    • Reply Alyssa May 4, 2016 at 12:30 am

      I agree- unplanned rest days are so important! And amen, our bodies do not have calendars!! Thanks for reading love!

  • Reply Ellie May 4, 2016 at 12:56 am

    YES YES YES! Great post Lyss. The mental break from exercise is just as critical as the physical break. I’ve read a lot about how elites take weeks off after a big event. As I prepare for my race at the end of this month, I see a lot of rest in the weeks afterwards. It’s posts like these that remind me how important it is!

    • Reply Alyssa May 5, 2016 at 1:42 pm

      The mental break from exercise IS really as critical as the physical break. That is good you are going to take off some time from exercise- you will need it after this big race! Hope you are having a great week <3

  • Reply Kate May 4, 2016 at 11:23 am

    Great post Alyssa. Great for you for not exercising when you where sick. I think we underestimated how much our bodies need to fight back sicknesses.
    My rest days are usually planned for me because they are days I am too busy to work out. I’ve learned to just accept that and embrace the day rather than fighting it or stressing over it.

    • Reply Alyssa May 5, 2016 at 1:41 pm

      Thank you so much Kate! My rest days are planned too, and I have also learned to accept those days! Sometimes, unplanned rest days come up too and that is okay to rest then too! Like you said- there is NO need to stress or fight it, just accept them and embrace them! <3

  • Reply Catherine @ foodiecology May 4, 2016 at 4:21 pm

    I feel like our brains are on the same wavelength because my post today is about how I choose not to exercise (formally, at least) on vacation!
    It’s so awesome that you’re in a healthy place where you realize rest is necessary and will NOT harm you, especially when you’re sick. I was a competitive gymnast, too, so I relate to the “push hard!” mentality. It can be so damaging if we let it control our lives.
    Thanks for sharing. Hope you’re having a great week! 🙂

    • Reply Alyssa May 5, 2016 at 1:39 pm

      I will have to check your post out ASAP! The push hard mentality can most definitely control our lives. Hope you are having a great week Catherine!!

  • Reply Cayanne Marcus @healthyezsweet May 4, 2016 at 5:07 pm

    I think so many people can relate to the anxiety associated with taking rest days as exercise dependency and restrictive eating really go hand in hand. I still struggle with this, but what really helped me was forcing myself in a sense to take a LONG period of time off of exercise – 3 weeks to be exact. It was one of the most frightening things ever, but also one of the most pivotal in my recovery. Because I got through it, nothing happened, and now when I want to take 1,2, 5 rest days I just remember hey – if I could do it for 3 weeks surely I can for a few days 🙂

    • Reply Alyssa May 5, 2016 at 1:39 pm

      I think taking a long break from working out does wonders too. It shows us that our bodies do not change and the worry that they do is so irrational! Thank you so much for reading Cayanne <3

  • Reply Sarah @ BucketListTummy May 4, 2016 at 10:13 pm

    I love that you watched One Tree Hill and snuggled with your doggies. That sounds better than a workout anyway 🙂 You hit the nail on the head though – our bodies can get overexerted – if we don’t rest properly, they won’t function and we’ll give mental and physical burnout. Cheers to rest and relaxation!

    • Reply Alyssa May 5, 2016 at 1:38 pm

      Yesss- cheers to rest and relaxation!! Thank you for reading Sarah, have a wonderful day!

  • Reply Tovah May 5, 2016 at 3:09 am

    What a great post. Something I still struggle with from time to time. But I feel so much better in my workouts and just overall if I give my body that vital time it needs to rest! For example, I took this past Sunday off from physical activity and my run on Monday felt a million times better because of it. We can’t be the best us when we aren’t treating our bodies with the rest they need.

    • Reply Alyssa May 5, 2016 at 1:37 pm

      Thank you so much for reading! Exactly- we cannot be the best us when we are not giving our bodies rest!!

  • Reply Zena | Zena 'n Zaatar May 6, 2016 at 3:01 am

    Such a good reminder about the importance of rest days! Too often I get stuck in the cycle of working out everyday and feeling guilty for taking a day off… but it is so necessary and once I finally catch a break I feel so much better 🙂

    • Reply Alyssa May 8, 2016 at 5:11 pm

      It IS so necessary to catch a break- your body will thank you!! Thanks for stopping by Zena <3

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