Not too long ago, I received an email from a woman exhausted from her training. She expressed that she viewed many of the IFBB Pro athletes to be “superwomen,” as we appear to manage our sport, life, careers, dieting, family, relationships, etc. with incredible ease. I had to laugh, because in that moment, I was not feeling so “super.” Thanks to a lack of sufficient sleep, work deadlines, two-a-days and a calorie deficit— I was struggling myself.
The truth is that everyone, from time to time, feels worn down and less than her absolute best. In those moments, you may become grumpy, negative, sad, angry, victimized, delirious, irrational, etc. You may even just give up on your goals, dive into the peanut butter jar and swear off cardio. However, after a little rest, you miraculously start feeling like a superwoman again and want to kick yourself for allowing a tough day to get the best of you. Don’t worry. We’ve all been there.
When we’re feeling like this, it would be ideal to just take a few days vacation from life responsibilities, training, dieting or whatever your source of stress. However, that’s not a very realistic solution. So, to help me survive (and even thrive) in challenging moments, I’ve experimented with quick and effective strategies to help rejuvenate my mind and body. I call these my “20-Minute Vacations.” Give these a try:
The Power Nap
After a 20-minute nap, I feel surprisingly more energetic and ready to conquer life, which is funny, as I used to associate napping with laziness. Since I work in a home office, I can hit the couch or bed for some quick shut-eye. However, when I worked outside of the home, I kept a small pillow in my office and would occasionally put my head on my desk during the lunch hour. While my body usually wakes up on its own in 20 minutes, I always set an alarm, just in case. For me, if a nap exceeds 20 to 25 minutes, I tend to feel worse. From time to time, I may take in a little caffeine before my nap so I can wake up with an extra energy boost.
Most of us tend to breath very shallow, which is not ideal for health, vitality and stress reduction. Taking a break to partake in deep breathing (or yoga breathing) can do wonders for inspiring more energy and quelling negative emotions. See this link for my blog on how to do a yoga breath. You can also choose to meditate on a particular phrase or do positive envisioning exercises while deep breathing to add to this “vacation.”
Walking in the Sunshine (preferably, with my pups)
I know, I know… when you are exhausted, the last thing you want to do is move, right? Well, I’ve found that a casual walk in the sunshine re-energizes me. While there is plenty of scientific evidence regarding how Vitamin D (which is obtained from sun exposure) improves your energy, mood and metabolism, I have found that the change of scenery alone promotes a feeling of wellness, optimism and peace that mimics how one feels when she is on a REAL vacation.
I always have a pile of books or blogs archived that I can read to help me “get away” for a few minutes and refuel my mind. My rule of thumb here is to avoid anything negative or heavy that may weigh me down (i.e., the news, gossip) rather than lift me up. A lovely online escape to bookmark: www.positivelypositive.com.
We all say it’s important, and yet most of us rarely do it consistently. In addition to reducing muscle tension, a good stretch improves circulation, which helps increase your energy. Try stretching in the sunshine and incorporating yoga breathing for a Maximum Impact 20-Minute Vacation.
A Winning Thought
There will be plenty of exhausting and/or stressful days in a lifetime. The goal is to learn how to move through those days gracefully, so that your goals, outlook and relationships are not negatively impacted. Choose to accept a tough day for what it is, a small obstacle for your goals and life, and fight through those days with relentless optimism, as tomorrow (or the next day) will most certainly be better.
Keep pushing— your best is waiting.
Your Best is presented by Gaspari Nutrition.