I Had to Learn to Rest
I didn’t start prioritizing rest in my life until maybe a year ago. Max. My entire childhood and adolescence was spent either at the dance studio or in the car, on the way to the dance studio. In college, I was either in class, teaching group fitness classes, or working at one of my 3 jobs (yes, I held up to 3 simultaneous jobs - in fitness and retail - all four years of being a full-time student). Then came ClassPass unlimited, with the NYC fitness world at my fingertips. I’ve always been completely obsessed with working, working out, and planning my work and workout schedules.
My lack of rest in high school manifested itself in the form of an incessant knee pop - which lasted for two years, on and off. I took my flexibility for granted, proclaimed myself as one of those dancers who’s “always warm”, and could pull off any trick you asked me to with little to no dynamic warmup or recovery cool down. With that mindset, I’m lucky it didn’t lead to an injury. In college, it was almost passing out after under eating and over exercising on a daily basis. Not even walking bronchitis could keep me from going about my usual business - inhaler in tow. I always thought my body was important. My “dancer’s body.” My aesthetic. But what about my health and well-being?
I always thought resting simply meant relaxing, and I believed relaxing was synonymous with being lazy. Laziness led to being sedentary, being sedentary led to gaining weight - which in my mind, was the absolute worst situation that I could ever be in! (I’ve since gotten a large dose of perspective - but that’s a whole other post.) It had never been my instinct to stop. Recharge. Rejuvenate. When most people finish a killer workout, they smoothly transition to their self care routine afterward. Meanwhile, I was the girl who - on my day off from work, mind you - did Barry’s in the AM and Tone House in the PM. When I finished a workout, I’d immediately check my schedule and see when my next workout would be. Something needed to change.
Learning to rest meant replacing old, self-destructive patterns with new, fulfilling ones. It became less about planning and hustling and more about reestablishing equilibrium. Once the changes started to stick, at work and in my workouts, I noticed major improvements in my attitude, energy levels, and productivity. I’m the least stressed and have the most positive relationship with my body that I’ve had in my adult life.
Maybe I’m getting older. Maybe I’m getting wiser. I’m sure as hell taking better care of my body than I ever have. The absence of work isn’t slack, it’s rest. I still apply 100% effort to everything I do, whether it’s my work or my workout. But now, I make and take the time to rest.