On a truly spectacular afternoon, when typically, I would be enjoying
the day outside in the fresh air, I found myself indoors, under the
covers. At the not so subtle urging of my husband, I had indulged in
a Sunday nap. And you know what? I really needed it.
For years, I have been adamant that I have no use for naps (except
when I was pregnant). There were always too many things to get
done. And if we were lucky enough for the babies to actually sleep
in the middle of the day, I sure as heck wasn't going to waste it
snoozing on the couch - especially on such a beautiful day.
Well, I was mistaken. I'm not saying that every weekend I'm going to
take a nap. But the experience of waking up refreshed got me
thinking about something I already knew but rarely apply to my life:
the art of rest and recovery. It is one of the key principles of
being a well mom - the woman I'm striving to be and what I write
about here each week and on my website, thewellmom.com.
So many of us run full throttle all the time that it seems impossible
to set aside time to recharge. But there really are infinite gains to
be made by taking a pause. The first step is giving yourself
Athletes know recovery is key to performance. Twelve years ago, when
I was training for my very first marathon, I joined a group of novice
runners following a program by Olympian Jeff Galloway. Galloway
advocates a "run-walk" philosophy in which you insert one to two
minute walk breaks into your long runs. The idea is that allowing
your muscles to recover for a brief interval will conserve your
strength to make it the full 26.2 miles. Many runners who follow
Galloway's method of training often post faster times and finish the
race with more energy and in better shape than their counterparts.
Makes sense, right? We need to recover to have the strength and the
stamina TO KEEP GOING. Whether you are pushing your body or your
mind, it is easy to go too far. What happens then? An athlete may
end up with an injury. A mom may end up so stressed out and tired
that she's grouchy, disorganized and feeling pretty out of control.
As a mom who feels your pain, I'm encouraging you to take that moment
or bubble bath or whatever it is you need to rev up again for the
next race, the next deadline, the next tantrum...In other words, what
are waiting for? Nap to it!
The Well Mom Guide to Rest & Recovery
1. You are only a strong as your recovery. Your muscles and your mind need time to recharge. Think of rest as an integral part of what you need to do get things done.
2. Miles in the bank. My dad or Coach Cabot as I affectionately call him is an avid runner and has inspired our family to run marathons together. He would often remind us to remember all of the miles we had put towards our training when we were taking a break (or couldn't make the time to run on a particular day) You have to look at the foundation you built and know that it won't crumble if you take a time out.
3. Listen to your body (and to others around you) Our bodies know when we need rest. Be aware of your own cues and act on them.
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Check back here every Wednesday for more tips from Heather Cabot on how to be a happy and healthy mom.