I have not been feeling well the last couple of days. It is most likely a combo of weather changes and stress.
Stress is one of the number 1 killers of your immune system. To save you all the boring (or fascinating to Geeks like me) science behind stress and your immune system I will use the following analogy to explain how stress makes us sick. Imagine stress in your body as a light switch. When we are stressed out our body gets switched on. This is good. I mean we all need light when it is dark right? And we all need to remain focused, alert, and calm during times of stress. But what happens if we do not turn off the switch? Our light burns out.
If you are like me, you go, go, go, go, go and have little time to relax. In other words, I forget to turn off my switch and my light burns out. I’m left with a weakened immune system and I am more vulnerable to germs. It is gross I know, but true. So here I am not feeling well. Typically a workout is all I need to feel better. In my head I scream go to the gym, but my body does not agree. It becomes a battle between mind and body. It is you vs you!
We need to listen to our bodies. We also need to listen to our mind. So how do you know when to listen to your body and when to listen to your mind?
1. I evaluate my thoughts! Are my thoughts negative and destructive? If I am thinking things like, “you are so lazy”, or “I am such a bum”, I will only feel bad about myself. This is not helpful. If I can think, “you deserve to rest”, “you are making healthy choices”, I will feel more able to relax.
2. Next I listen to my body. How do I feel? Are these aches soreness of working out or do I ache because my body needs to rest. Workout soreness should only linger for 2-3 days following a workout. Your body will hurt in the area you worked out. But if my back hurts and I haven’t worked out my back in 3 days that is my cue, I need to rest.
I love rating scales. Like from 1-10, so I use this to gage where my body is at.
3. I ask myself how my body feels on a scale of 1-10. 10 is “awesome, great, ready to take on the world”! 1 is “terrible, sick, pathetic, weak”! I think that 7 is normal, for me! So while I am fighting myself to decide if I need a workout or not I evaluate where I am at on the scale. For me, a5 is “I could make it to the gym but not workout as hard, maybe decrease my weight”. A 3 for me is “take a break, stay home, and relax”!
4. If I evaluate I am below a 7, and not feeling myself I also question what does my body want or need today? Last night I wanted Mac-n-cheese. It is SO not healthy and SO not something I typically eat but my body wanted to eat that. Perhaps it is a comfort food and I wanted that comfort so I ate it and I was no longer craving that meal.
5. Balance is the key. I cannot let my body win that battle every time. Today, although still not feeling my best I am craving bad food. But my mind knows what is best and I will allow those thoughts to make sure I fuel my body with fruits and vegetables today, not unhealthy comfort foods.
Honor your body. Treat it well. Constantly pushing our bodies will wear us out. I am an advocate for physical activity and frequent movement as long as we let our bodies rest. I also advocate for healthy and balanced eating, but if we don’t allow a cheat every now and then we can become mentally drained. We need healthy eating and physical activity, but we also need rest and relaxation. Today I chose to let my body recharge and tomorrow I have a new day to make it to the gym. Rather than a you vs you situation make it a You LOVING You situation!