In my first article, I talked about how you get on a “Rebound” from failure or impact of change. I made the case for ‘if you allow yourself to be challenged’, both physically and mentally, you can rebound quick and strong.
Allow me to acknowledge that some of us (A type) might take this ‘Rebound’ to mean that we push ourselves even more – in every way possible. So, it is with a sense of urgency, that I present to you the second pillar for Resilience – Rest and Recovery.
Given the times as they are, many of us have been utilising our privilege of spending time on ourselves – learning new skills, focusing on our health , cooking for ourselves and family etc.
Much of this is inadvertently helping us Recover. We might be recovering, but are we Rested? And what really is the difference between Rest and Recovery?
Let me share a quick and small example –
Very recently Michael Phelps was questioned on how he was doing. He said, “You want to know my truth? How am I doing? How am I handling quarantine and the global pandemic? Put it this way: I’m still breathing.It has been one of those months. Nonstop, my mood jumping up and down and all around. The pandemic has been one of the scariest times I’ve been through. I’m thankful that my family and I are safe and healthy. I’m grateful we don’t have to worry about paying bills or putting food on the table, like so many other folks right now. But still, I’m struggling.”
Many of us might be facing similar or our own struggles. While engaging ourselves in cooking, playing indoor games with family, doing zoom coffee/drinks with friends, we may be getting Recovery but not really getting any Rest. Each one of us really needs both.
In athletic parlance, Recovery includes methods of cross training, compression and myofascial release, stress management and hydration+nutrition. Recovery is done with the objectives of relieving muscle soreness, improving flexibility, and restoring energy storage levels. To restore energy levels, in turn, needs focusing on recovering the hormonal/chemical balance, mental and emotional state and overcoming early signs of excess stress.
Rest, on the other hand, is time spent sleeping and not training or exercising. This means letting yourself sleep in or indulging in a nap with the goal of keeping your heart rate down. You can literally do anything you want, so long as it doesn’t involve training.
As you can see, while Recovery is very important, it is not a substitute for Rest.
Now that the scientific understanding of Rest and Recovery is out of the way, let me ask… how are you Resting and Recovering from the stress and training of ‘Normal life’ as we knew it before the pandemic? Focus on the Rest and Recovery before you can get into the new training season a.k.a Normalcy.
Use this time to rest and recover various systems – structural , digestive , mental and emotional. Focus on things that give you energy and help you release the long held stresses – do things you don’t normally do – as an athlete if you haven’t spent time on ‘visualization exercises’, controlled breathing, meditation, detoxification of your digestive system, now is the time.
And in doing all this, don’t Forget to really, really Rest. Bring your Heart Rate down – do nothing or do things that give you complete and deep rest – know that it is completely alright to not be doing a ‘new’ activity all the time, that it is important to have blocks of busy time and also important to have blocks of ‘free’ time.
In mixing Rest and Recovery appropriately, we Rebound better and become Resilient in the longer run.
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