Last week, we talked about “what not to do,” or in other words, how to actually use downtime (when you have it) to relax. We also talked about the challenge of sitting still, which many of us face on the regular if we try seated meditation. Fortunately, there is all kinds of mindful movement (yoga, walking, hiking) that we can turn to instead. But then, there are some moments in life when stillness is the only option – or should be, anyway. Sometimes, your body needs you to stop, drop and maybe roll over (in bed).
Nobody likes to be sick, or injured, or less than 100% in any way. It’s not fun for obvious reasons, including the general annoyance of physical pain and discomfort. Additionally, most of us have days that are jam-packed with tasks needing to happen and goals waiting to be achieved. Slowing down is not only a non-option, it’s impossible, as far as we can see. If we do really crash, then we’re all about when we can get back on our feet. We push ourselves to bounce back, and do so the minute we think we can manage at all. The pride is in the speed, not the quality, of our recovery.
You know what happens next. You may be functioning at about 50%, but that cold drags on for weeks. That knee you should have rested for another week is persistently sore for months, or longer. The fatigue you should have addressed with a solid night of sleep never seems to leave you. You didn’t take the time you needed to heal when you needed it, so now, the healing is going to take way more time that it would have.
There’s a saying out there about “mind over matter,” and on many occasions, it’s valid. Your body is probably not the kind of “matter” you want to take lightly, though. If you’re going to push yourself to bust out of your comfort zone and train your body to become stronger, you need to be starting with a healthy body. Take care of it. You only get one, and when it needs to repair itself, you’re the only one who can really let it do that.
As you know by now, mindfulness is about connecting to the reality of the present moment, which sometimes means managing discomfort. When you’re ailing, it can help you to endure, but it can also help you have the patience and presence you need to allow yourself the time you need to get better. Take a deep breath and remind yourself that it is temporary. You are as strong, fast and able as you ever were, but getting back to zero – let alone beyond it – may take time. Finding a few minutes of stillness can quiet your mind as it clamors to get back in the game. It will be there, and so will you, when you have mindfully allowed yourself the space to recharge.
Photo credit: Lia Leslie