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The Rest Day – An Honest Look at Inner Turmoil

As I sit to write this post I wonder how many of its readers will relate and how many will just fob it off? That is a rhetorical question, but it is one of the many thoughts running through my brain at the moment.

There was a new addition in my last four week training plan that my amazing coach provided me and it is one of those things that fills a lot of us with dread…. To my horror and astonishment there in big letters on the Friday’s were the words “Rest Day”. This was noted with a statement of how important rest is as part of the plan, and honestly in the logic part of my brain I wholeheartedly agree. I fully believe that recovery and rest make up the vital part of your training. The rest of me though actively went crazy and stressed, but at the end of the day coach really does know best.

To really understand my inner turmoil at this ghastly Friday proposition you really need some background on me and my internal state, strap yourself in, it may not be pretty….

I have what people like to categorise as a Type A personality…. Outgoing, ambitious, rigidly organised, sensitive, impatient, anxious, proactive, overly concerned with time management and a workaholic. Team with this a super dose of perfectionism, clinical depression and anxiety, chronic fatigue syndrome, food issues, body image issues and an interesting childhood with a returned serviceman father with PTSD means my brain is generally a little on edge to begin with.

That’s great and all (well it isn’t really when things are bad, but you know what I mean), but what does this mean in regard to the rest days?

I use my running, my training and my work to escape all the inner demons, they help to burn off the crazy and control for me what is going on, they add a sense of calm to times that don’t feel so calm to me. I honestly can’t say if it is the endorphins, the routine or just the pure fatigue of the process or physical power that enables this to happen and honestly, I don’t really care, all I know is that it works and it helps and I LOVE my life, I LOVE who I have become because of it and who I will be. In refusing to allow my life to go backwards to the point where I am far too close to a very unhealthy for me 100kgs again or to the point where I am holding a scalpel in one hand and suicidal thoughts in my head, or the point where I feel utterly helpless and powerless over anything, I really struggle during “rest days” or down time. I am not good at it. If you have ever seen me on holiday or on a rest day, or worse, when I have been physically unable to do anything you can see how edgy, restless, angry and frustrated I get. It really isn’t pretty, it makes me cranky and lost and I really hate it. I do not do holidays, rest time or enforced down time very well at all, in fact during these times I almost need a sign above me that sates “CAUTION: In current state does not play well with others”. It is like the worst case of the Hangries you have EVER seen.

I can say now looking back that the Friday rest days were a good thing. It helped my body and my mental state just dealt with it, because it was in the plan. It didn’t mean I couldn’t be productive it just meant that I wasn’t actively training my body as demandingly as I had been. It turned into a really positive thing.

Why the turmoil now?

Given all of the above I hit struggle street when the “real world” doesn’t match up to the world inside my head. This includes things that I have been really looking forward to not happening. Last weekend (the AFL grand final weekend, yes we are Victorian, but no, I don’t even follow the football), was the Trails Plus Surf Coast Hell Run. This single event was one that I was so very excited about and looking forward to for months. The fact I was going to get to spend the weekend with my Trail Family down by the coast doing what we love just means the world to me.

What ended up happening though is a delightful virus totally kicked my butt from Thursday, I spent two full days in bed, one out of bed and even now am still not back to near fully recovered, needing to sleep multiple times through the day.

Safe to say I was and still am gutted. It fully created the inner turmoil that I hate and know so very well it stirred most things up again and I hate that one little thing can do that.

However, the worst part is that because I am not well, still, I am not training, I can’t work or even fuel effectively or efficiently and that is not good for me on any level.

I sit here (even that hurts more than it should, I never sit to work normally), writing this trying to get logic to rule my head and not the turmoil, but I am struggling. I don’t know when I will be well enough to train again. I am honestly hoping I can pick my plan up again on Wednesday but I just don’t know for certain, and that makes me edgy. This means that the inner issues and voices start to creep in and the fear that I will lose all my fitness and condition come along with it. It terrifies me to the bone. I am no elite athlete, I have no ambition to be, all I want is to be the best version I can be given my restrictions, but again that is starting to feel so far away…

Because of this my body issues are poking their head around the door as well, which sends a cold shiver down my spine. I want logic, reason and love to win the round here so badly. I want to be proud of what my body can do, it shouldn’t matter what it looks like, but my head is struggling to see that now.

The big one…. Is my fear that this virus has flared my Chronic Fatigue so badly that it will refuse to settle again. That everything I am working for both physically and with this amazing family as part of Glimmer Gear Australia and my rocking Fit Chicks Australia will stall because I can’t achieve what I have in my head in the real world. This saddens me deeply and scares me, no scratch that it terrifies me. I am working so hard to make these things amazing for all involved, but I am afraid my history will work against me here. Currently I am feeling pretty dark, terrified, anxious, negative and not in a great place.

I am lucky, I have amazing employers and clients that understand. I have an amazing coach that will work with me to get be back on track (thanks Chis from Go Run Australia from the bottom of my heart!). I have brilliant colleagues and running buddies, and the Glimmer Family and Fit Chicks Australia make up a big part of this. I have Mr Glimmer Gear Australia who is just amazing and puts up with all my crazy on all levels, and he needs a medal sometimes for that (not that I would ever tell him that out loud, can’t have him getting a big head).

The big thing now is rest. My body and clearly the universe is screaming at me to rest. I am trying and resting when I can. So, my message to you all is don’t ever think rest is a dirty word. Yeah there are demons and some of us have more than others, but each of us has our own demons. I am resting. I will get better.

My final parting words to you amazing people, if you have managed to read this far is know you are not alone, no matter what. This business is all about safety. It is about you being able to do what you love, be supported but most of all make it to the end safe. That is why I share this with you all. We are here for the long term, of that I am certain. Know that you can always come to us at an event and talk to us about your safety training needs. ALSO know that your emotional and mental health and safety ARE part of this. We will always be honest with you, if you are nervous, anxious or terrified about your event, that is ok, it is a sure bet we will have some strategies we can talk to you about to help you feel calmer about it. Know that no matter what this amazing community of people our all-encompassing Glimmer Family and Fit Chicks Australia are here to support you.

I am going for another lay down, so that I can be more productive later on, take care you amazing people, thank you for being part of our family.

Sa x

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