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Time for a break?

Recovery: Knowing When to Take a Break

We’ve all felt tired, worn down, stressed, and overworked. Sometimes we even think we can compare our busy schedules and minimal hours of sleep with our friends and coworkers to see who is busier. But in reality, this is only hurting our health.

What all does Stress include and what can it look like? Stress isn’t just a busy schedule, we can experience emotional and mental stress too. Things like poor nutrition, intense exercise, work stress, relationships/family stress, loneliness, financial stress, environmental stressors, alcohol and drug use, or illness/injury can all make us enter into an “alarm phase.”

Signs we might need to take a break:

-You’re always sore

-Going to the gym makes you feel anxious/depressed

-You aren’t sleeping or you’re sleeping too much

-No appetite or a very ravenous appetite

-Everything hurts, all of the time

-Always getting sick

-Gym/Workout performance is suffering

-Irritable or Moody

As we go through our day to day we might try to ignore some of these signs but if we do we are putting ourselves at risk for greater issues. For instance poor sleep (quality and quantity) over long periods of time can cause physical issues such as; drowsiness, metabolic problems, reduced immunity, increased risk of cardiovascular disease or cancer. Emotional and Mental risks increase as well. Take a look at the graph below to see more of the effects of poor sleep.

(graph provided by Precision Nutrition)

After an “alarm phase” it’s important for us to work on the recovery phase. When we think of recovery, we mostly think of taking time off from the gym or workout classes. Recovery is so much more than that! Personally, I think this is the fun part! This is when you can have “me time”. Recovery can include regular sleep, good nutrition, gentle movement, fulfilling activity, social connections, positive emotions, time in nature (my favorite!), and practicing mindfulness. This is the time to be creative and work on your hobbies or do the things you love to do!

The goal with recovery is to be mindful enough to know when you need it and disciplined enough to take it. While it might not be easy to take time away from the gym or a big project, you’ll be better for it in the long run!


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