mental health

Slow it Up : The Magic of Slow Mornings

The Magic of Slow Mornings - Josie Feather Blog

I have this tendency to pack my life similarly to how I pack my suitcase - clearly overstuffed and needing me to sit my entire body weight on it to get it to zip closed. I fill every little moment and try to squeeze every ounce of productivity out of each second. It’s both kind of a necessity of life right now, as well as how I tend to function best - but we all have our limits. After spending the weekend in Atlanta for a Pickleball tournament, waking up at 5 each day and then getting home from the airport at 2am and heading to work at 7am on Monday, you could say I was tired. Maybe tired isn’t the right word - zombieque might be closer to the horror show of me surviving solely on coffee and dry shampoo. I also had a personal project I was working on, so the few quiet minutes I had this weekend were spent trying to extract any sense from my brain to put towards that.

Now ya’ll know I am a certified gym rat. Exercise is a huge priority in my life, because I know I feel better physically, mentally, and basically all ways when I’m sweating it out on the daily. It’s usually the highest priority on my to do list each day, because I know everything else will feel like I piece of cake after that. Usually I wouldn’t miss it for the world, but today I decided I needed to skip it. Instead of waking up and running non-stop from the second my alarm went off I decided to just have a slow morning. I still got up early, but was able to take my time, get a shower, play with my pups, change my outfit thirty or so times, and pack my lunch without feeling the need to check the clock every few seconds.

Sure, I could have woke up a little later. Sure, I could have fit my workout in. Sure, I could have done a hundred more productive things in that hour and a half - but I didn’t, and that’s not just okay, that’s awesome. Slow mornings can have such a huge benefit for mental health. It’s like a mini spa day for your brain. Not needing to rush rush rush helps your brain reset, turn off that fight or flight response for a few minutes, and actually let your brain switch back to a healthy thinking pattern.

So, yeah, It’s Wednesday and I’ve only gotten one workout in this week, but I’ll survive. Sometimes you just need a morning to reset and play with your puppies - at least, that’s what they told me.

(P.S. - Ten points to anyone who got that Office reference in the title - a truly classic Angela moment)

How to Know When to Take a Break

How to Know When to Take a Break - Josie Feather Blog

I’m one of those all-or-nothing types. Either I’m obsessively doing something all the time, or I drop it and completely forget about it altogether. I really struggle with balance which I know a lot of other people do as well. I tend to think that if I’m going to miss one day at the gym, well then, I might as well just skip the whole week! It’s a really damaging way to think and often leads to feeling either depressed about missing one measly workout, or pushing through even when I shouldn’t and hurting myself physically or mentally.

The thing is, it’s all mindset. There’s no other way to avoid it then to change how you view it, which is way harder to me then just physically pushing through something. I’d so much rather attempt to run a 5k on a broken leg then try to wrangle my thoughts under control. The all or nothing mindset has been something I have really been trying to work on lately.

Even though I’ve got a long way to go, I thought it’d be nice to share those signs I’ve been tying to keep an eye out for that tell me it’s time to take a much needed break. I’ve been trying to apply these same ideas to all areas of my life, but have been trying to really focus in on what it means for my exercise routine.

PAIN

The most obvious sign. If you’ve been working out hard and are experiencing pain in your muscles, it’s time to take a break! Let your body rest so you can come back and kill it next time. You’ll only make things worse, and probably cause a full blown injury, by pushing through. Also take it as an opportunity to look at your habits and see if you can adjust anything to avoid pain in the future (you know what I’m talkin’ ‘bout - stretching!).

EXHAUSTION

It’s honestly hard for me to tell the difference between physical and mental exhaustion, it all just runs together in my mind, so let’s talk about both. Last week i was feeling it for a lot of reasons. When it first hit me I tried to talk myself into ignoring it and plowing through, but instead I took a step back and saw how much I had been doing - hitting the gym 6 days a week for the past few weeks, walking a lot even on my off days, and running from thing to thing in my personal life. Honestly, I wasn’t even excited to go to the gym the next day, which is actually really rare for me. So I decided to take a day off right in the middle of the week. Instead of letting myself worry that it was the end of the world that I skipped one day, I set my sights on enjoying a rare weekday morning at home before work, and rekindling my excitement to get back to the gym the next day.

LACK OF MOTIVATION

Let’s be straight here, I’m not talking about when you are just getting started and motivation is hard as h*ck, I’m talking about when you have already pushed through that phase and have found that you usually love working out, but all the sudden it’s become a chore. Take a look at why that is. If you’re feeling a little depressed, it may be good to keep pushing through since it may actually help, but if you’re otherwise feeling fine and you’re just dreading your workout then maybe it’s time to take a break and come back with a new plan.

I was starting to feel a little blah about my gym time a few months ago and decided to start a new workout plan, and I am so glad I did! It’s hugely helped me reconnect with what I love about working out, and seeing results from all my hard work gets me even more excited to keep going!