Over the past few weeks I’ve been working much harder on my body than I used to, for various reasons: for weight loss, for endurance, for mind-body connection. I have dedicated at least an hour time every day for physical activity, whether it’s yoga, running, rolling on a massage ball, swimming, or weight training.
This is not merely for fitness or health purposes. For me my exercise time is a nurturing and therapeutic time, especially my runs on the beach and my yoga in my living room at sunset time.
But some days, my body feels exhausted from life’s demands and from this new fitness regimen. My mind, on the other hand, cracks the whip and says that I should’t miss a day of physical activity. If I truly listen to my body, it really is asking for a chance to slow down and recover.
If you are the sort of person who finds difficult to get up and do any physical activity, then this message might not be necessarily for you. I am speaking to those who actively work on their bodies and don’t necessarily know when it’s time to stop and rest.
We are continuously bombarded with messages about what we should or shouldn’t do with our bodies. Our society feeds us images of the “ideal” body type and sometimes if we don’t match those ideals it affects our sense of self-worth. But health and self-worth go beyond images and ideals.
I am very conscious of the innumerable benefits of exercise. But for me in particular one of the most important ones is the release of endorphins. This hormonal tune-up helps me maintain optimal mental health, especially having dealt with severe depression in the past. It’s scientifically proven that physical activity helps us better cope with anxiety and depression. So when I don’t feel like exercising, I remind myself that it’s not just for my body but also for the health of my mind. Still, even then, if I push myself too hard and don’t get adequate rest and recovery time, the whole thing backfires.
Finding the balance is the key.
Our bodies speak to us in many ways. Through our sleep quality, our appetite, our sex drive, our posture, our digestion, our skin and more. And these messages are always changing. Let’s learn to listen to the signals our bodies are giving us.
The next time that your body is saying, “Not today. I need a break,” acknowledge it. Consider an activity that is not as demanding. Consider something nurturing, different such as meditation, massage, a sound bath, a spa session, a walk on the beach, dinner with a friend that you haven’t seen in a while, or just stay home and read a good book. Your body will thank you for it.
Warrior Flow, Founder