The Importance of Stillness

Today I made a choice, and a very difficult one at that.  I made the choice to stay home.  I made the choice to not stick with my plan.  I made the choice to not go to yoga and to not cross-train today.  I made the choice to skip my workout.  Deep down I’m freaking out about it, but I’m not going to let myself.  This was a choice I needed to make.

I have this nasty little habit of getting stressed out and not knowing that I am until it starts taking a physical and mental toll on me.  I also often can’t pinpoint the cause of my stress.  This flaw in my system caused me to suffer from anxiety and panic attacks in college, which quickly spiraled into serious depression.  Over time I’ve learned to deal with the stress and have overcome my depression, but the past few weeks I’ve been feeling that stress again.  I’ve been moody, my mind is flooded with “toxic thoughts”, my shoulders are tense, I’m moving so quickly I’m literally dropping things every five seconds.  I feel like I haven’t stopped.

Tonight is my yoga and swimming night, but I had to cook so I have nourishment for this week.  I told myself that it was OK to not go to yoga or to the gym.  I told myself that in the grand scheme of things, if I miss a 30-minute cross-training work out, I’ll still be able to run a half-marathon.  Instead I did a little impromptu yoga in my living room while listening to some relaxing music and feel much better.  I got my food cooked and I managed to do some major cleaning.  Mentally, I feel more at peace and I know I made a good choice.

I still don’t know why I’m feeling so stressed, but I suspect it’s because I have so much stuff going on with this half-marathon training.  It’s not the actual training, but the fact that I’m trying to do so much stuff on top of it.  If this race is something I really want to do, it needs to be my focus and I need to not get myself involved in too many other things.  For instance, I joined this Bible study in church not realizing how much work is involved and I’m finding myself stressed out over not being able to get all the reading done and the questions answered.  I think I’m going to have to say no to this for now so I can find my inner stillness again.  I also need to remember that it’s OK to shuffle workouts around and reschedule.  It’s OK to listen to my body (brain included) and know when it’s telling me to take a day to do nothing.  I never do nothing.  So here is my declaration of stillness:

I, Tamara, hereby declare that it is not only OK, but sometimes necessary, to do nothing.  I give myself full permission to recognize when I need a day to be still and calm and to say “no” to the things that I had planned.  I recognize that my mental health is just as important as my physical health, and I will not feel guilty for making choices that will promote my mental well-being.  Just as I give my body the chance to repair itself after working hard, I will give my mind the same opportunity.

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4 Comments

Filed under Random musings

4 responses to “The Importance of Stillness

  1. isabelle31

    I’m glad you’ve made the connection between the need for physical rest and the need for mental and/or emotional rest. It’s something I’m learning to do, too.

  2. Jenn

    Love this :0) Good for you. I’m still struggling with overall wellness and balance, and I think this is a huge part of living a balanced life ❤

  3. Nancy

    Ah, so true, and your running coach would agree with you! (Or I’ll have a word with him…!) It looks like you’ve recognized one of the biggest pitfalls I’ve had to deal with, too–the trap of fearing that the whole fitness thing is a house of cards that will fall if I miss ONE scheduled workout, or cut short ONE run, or don’t run the race I planned to run. May you always choose stillness before you injure yourself!

    • Thanks Nancy! Sadly this turned into 2 days, but you know what? I’m OK with it. Wednesday I came home and although I did “nothing”, that just really meant not working out. Thursday I was still feeling so worn down, so in order to not feel so guilty I stopped at the Y before I got home but set no time or distance goals. I did an easy 20-min walk on the elliptical to clear my head. Went home, made some dinner, sat down on the couch and watched some Modern Family on Hulu, and went to bed at 8:30. I can’t remember the last time I was a couch potato, but I feel so much better now. Ready to do my 4 miles today. : )

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