I was already “behind schedule.” Moving slowly. The minutes ticking by.
There was so much to do. So much I wanted to do. Deep down I knew that I had set an unrealistic amount to accomplish coming out of a week where I had felt off all week.
I typically maintain a consistent wake-up time, even in the weekend, and my slow start to the day was the first indication that my body needed something that my mind wasn’t ready to give it.
Why wasn’t a 30-minute walk enough of a workout on a slow Saturday morning? Did I really need another hour of exercise?
And yet I had pushed myself to do more because I “felt” weak. I felt like I wasn’t making “progress.”
(What does progress even feel like? How do I know?)
Of course, maybe that’s because what I needed most was rest.
Often when I believe I’m not making “progress” — seeing the results I expect to see or feeling the way I expect to feel — I push myself to do more.
I do this even though experience has taught me that instinct to push more is typically the opposite of what I need in that situation.
So there I was, on my mat, pushing myself to do more, until, at last, I settled back into child’s pose. Feeling no energy to get up and moving with the rest of my day, I pulled out my phone to research “how to know when your body needs to rest.”
The insight dropped in more quickly than the search results arrived:
I think it’s fair to say that if you’re researching “how to know when your body needs rest,” that’s how you know.
The answer is in the very fact that you’re asking the question.
It’s not just a function of what you did with your body; the body and your mind work together. Intensive mental work takes its toll on the body, and intensive physical work takes its toll on the mind. They are a unit. A team.
The pursuit of progress is foiled without adequate rest. And rest is a skill that must be practiced, just like any other skill.
I closed out of Google before I looked at the search results, and cleared my agenda for the day.
I gave myself permission to rest.