Yesterday I had a 9 am session scheduled with a client. Around 7 am, she contacted me to tell me she was just too tired to work out. She was having fantasies about laying on the couch as soon as she dropped the kids off at school and taking a long nap. Conventional wisdom would have me trying to motivate her to come work out anyway.

“Just get started!”  

“Getting to the session is the hardest part!”

“You’ll be full of energy when we are done!”

What did I tell her?  “Go take a nap.”

Sometimes we just need to rest. Every day we are in states of perpetual motion. Racing from place to place, adding items to the to-do list, enduring stress at work and home. We have to learn to stop and breathe. Or meditate. Or yes, lay on the couch.

Resting the mind and body are imperative to good health. Resting the body will allow it to heal and prevent injury. Resting the mind has too many benefits to even mention here, but here are a few that have been researched:

  • Increases life satisfaction

  • Increases immune function

  • Decreases pain

  • Decreases inflammation

  • Improves attention

  • Increases memory

  • Decreases anxiety, stress and depression

Many of us live life in extremes. We push too hard all week and then we watch TV, or stare at the Facebook, or surf the Internet for HOURS upon HOURS during the weekend. This is not resting your brain, this is keeping it stimulated. You have to turn off your brain every once in a while. Ideally, every day.

Recently, I started waking up early to get in 10 minutes of meditation. 10 minutes. That’s it. I don’t even make it a formal affair. I’ll do a few yoga stretches (just so I’m awake and don’t fall asleep), set a timer, and then either sit in silence or listen to a guided meditation on YouTube. I’m telling you, it makes the day run so much smoother. Kinda crazy.

Let me make this clear. I don’t always believe my clients should skip their workouts in favor of naps. Many times just getting moving will energize you and make you feel much better. However, the lovely lady mentioned above had already gone for a run the morning of our workout, and had only slept 3 hours. An additional workout would have been worthless and possibly detrimental to her health. Her body was craving rest. So she took it. She called me later that day to tell me that she slept for a solid 2 hours and felt like a new person. And she was ready to reschedule!

The moral of the story: LISTEN TO YOUR BODY.

Don’t be lazy. But don’t be crazy, either. Know if you have pushed yourself too much. If you are exhausted all the time, you need to take a hard look at what you can eliminate in your life. Push hard for a short period of time and then rest. Live your life in a series of sprints. It’s the best way to achieve your goals, AND stay healthy.