5 Reasons Taking a Break from Fitness Can Benefit You

 

5 Reasons Your Body May Benefit from a Fitness Break

“Taking a break” has gotten such a bad rep over the years. Remember the hit TV show Friends, when iconic love duo, Ross and Rachel, were on a break? Bad things happened. Or maybe you were in middle school P.E. and all the athletic and fit students were able to run faster and you felt ashamed when you had to take a break to catch your breath. There have been so many circumstances where the notion of “taking a break” has been negative. Really, really negative. But that doesn’t have to be the case!

What if taking a break was a good thing?

I’ve recently taken a short hiatus from my typical workout and fitness schedule (I say hiatus here because it was longer than a break due to repeated injuries). And I can tell you from personal experience, as well as hours and hours of research, that taking a break from fitness has benefits.



 

Related Articles: How to Reach Your Fitness Goals and How to Get Your Dream Body by Lifting Weights

 


 

 

The 5 Biggest Benefits Of Taking A Break From Working Out Are: 



 

1. Mindset Change. 

Taking a break from the routine can give you perspective and new ideas! Take the time to come up with some new exercises to try or classes to take. And maybe take the opportunity to do some active recovery — like walking, yoga, etc.

 

2. Break through the plateau.

Sometimes we can get so obsessed with our workouts, our records, our weight, our caloric intake, our macros, etc. that it becomes unhealthy and leads to burnout. Doing the same thing day after day can get boring and stale. Throwing a break into the schedule may be the change in routine that you’ve been needing!

 

3. Prevent (or recover from) injuries.

This may be the most sensible benefit. Exercise takes a toll on the body. Even the most careful of exercisers can get injuries! Sore or strained muscles, bruises, sprains, fractures, breaks, tears, etc. all require rest. Or maybe if you’re stuck in a routine, you may not be as careful as you usually are. Or maybe you’ve been pushing yourself, you may be close to an injury. Relax, rest, repeat. 

 

 

4. Get stronger and healthier.

Muscles need time to recuperate and repair in order to get stronger. Let your body catch up! Maybe you can catch up on some sleep too…

 

5. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Have you ever heard that saying before? Well, it can be true! And if the absence of something doesn’t make you miss it, then that’s a sign that you may need a change. For instance, if you’ve been running exclusively… and you don’t miss it while you take a break, then maybe it’s time to try out a new form of exercise (i.e. cycling, swimming, weight lifting, yoga, etc.).


 

3 Important Setbacks that Can Occur When Taking A Break from Fitness

 

Just as breaks can have benefits, they can also create setbacks. It is tricky to manage the fine line between “taking a break” and “falling out of a habit.” Working out is a difficult habit to build and to remain consistent with… therefore, it is SO important to be careful when taking a break!




The 3 biggest setbacks from taking a break from fitness that I have seen are:

 

Related Articles: 30 Motivation Fitness Quotes and Tips to Stay Motivated to Work Out 

 

1. Short breaks turn into long breaks.

Remember the commercial for an arthritis medication that said “a body a rest stays at rest…and a body in motion stays in motion” or something along those lines? Well, it’s true. If we aren’t careful, our short break can turn into something more.

 

2. It’s used as an excuse to not do anything at all or to eat whatever you want.

Just because you’re taking a break, doesn’t mean that active recovery shouldn’t be considered. I’ll be honest, I’ve done my fair share of “lounging around and not doing anything because it’s my rest time.” Not to mention… the “eat whatever I want because it’s my cheat day” mentality. HARMFUL! Please, by all means, reward yourself for your hard work… and eat what your heart desires. But everything in moderation, right?

 

3. You expect everything to change as a result of the break.

Yes, rest can improve many things. But it isn’t the “one size fits all” for many things in the fitness world. If you have an injury, rest may be part of the answer – but other steps are taken too! Rest won’t make you lift 50 pounds heavier at your next workout. And it won’t shave 2 minutes off of your mile time. But rest IS part of the answer. Just not the whole answer.

 

 

Self-Care Saturday 11/4-11/6

Another post in the “Self-Care Saturday” series! Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take much self-care time last weekend… but one of my cardinal rules of self-care is to be flexible and to schedule the time in advance! (To see the rest of my tips for self-care time, click here and here!I had to do some work over the weekend but I knew I’d be traveling to Savannah, GA Wednesday 11/4-Friday 11/6 and that I could take some time to recoup and relax after the chaotic last few weeks. Taking time off of work is always difficult. The work piles up beforehand, getting everything ready for your coworkers, and after the fact, dealing with everything you missed while you were gone. The Georgia School Counselor’s Association was holding it’s annual conference in beautiful, historic Savannah, GA.

During the conference,  I did attend workshops (which can be counted as “work”). However, there were excellent speakers that inspired, motivated, and fired me up. I loved every session I attended (a lot of which had to deal with mental health and counseling!). Our keynote speaker, Ms. Tara Brown, was hands-down the BEST speaker I have ever heard. Check out this clip from one of her speeches here

An added bonus to this wonderful conference is that I get to see and catch-up with some of my cohort (13 of my nearest and dearest friends that I went through my Master’s program with) from UGA. They’re all doing excellent things at their schools!

I also got to see one of my best friends, Lizzie, who is a nurse in Savannah. She just got a new puppy (maybe the cutest little pup I’ve ever seen). We got to catch each other up with our crazy lives and enjoy some good food in downtown Savannah.

This time of the year is always the busiest and the most hectic. But when you take some time to do things that you love, you’ll enjoy your work and your chaos slightly more!

 

National Positive Attitude Month

October was “National Positive Attitude Month.” Throughout the month, I tried to reflect on what a positive attitude meant to me. Mental health is an integral part to wellness. However, mental health is something that so many of us neglect. I’m one that will run myself into the ground by trying to do as much as I can without pausing for a minute for myself. As a result, I’ve devoted so many posts to Self-Care. Check out these posts: herehere, and here

There’s a saying that goes, “As we work to create light for others, we naturally light our own way.” This is TOO true for me. My co-counselors and I decided to design and implement a “National Positive Attitude Month” for our school. Our National Positive Attitude Month for our middle school students, included: daily motivational quotes, a writing contest, a “Wall of Positivity,” etc. October is the point in the semester when the students (and the staff) are spread too thin. Without a real break since the beginning of school, and still a month a way from Thanksgiving break, we’re drained.  So, some positive vibes were needed in the atmosphere. 

While all the activities were great, the closing activity of National Positive Attitude Month, “The Wall of Positivity,” left the biggest impression on me. Students wrote positive advice, quotes, words, etc. on colorful slips of paper. My co-counselors and I put them together and made a mosaic.It was displayed on main hall, where all 1,800+ students walk by daily. While compiling all of the papers, I couldn’t help but tear up. I was absolutely blown away from their submissions!! The depth, the emotion, and the sincerity from my students was breathtaking. 

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It was an excellent reminder of how much I love my job, how much I love my students, and how much I love my career. I felt rejuvenated. I felt ready to tackle anything that was coming my way. It’s amazing what a little positivity can do in your life!

How do you stay positive?

Self-Care Saturday 10/25

Man oh man, did I need some time to recharge after this week! There’s something about the month of October that drives students (and staff) to their wit’s end. Maybe it’s the long stretch without a substantial break between the start of school and Thanksgiving break. Maybe it’s the seasons changing. Or it could be it’s the first of many “bugs” that go around. Whatever it is… It’s gotten the best of me and many of those around me. 

During this time of the year, keeping your immune system strong is extremely important. Did you know that lack of sleep and prolonged periods of stress can suppress your immune system, which can make it harder for your body to fight infections and virus’? Not only that, but they can also contribute to a whole list of other things like weight gain, chronic pain, impaired memory and judgment, etc. (For more information, click here and here

This will be my third “Self-Care Saturday” post. My goal in posting a self-care post each week is to encourage others to take time for themselves, as well as keep myself accountable for what I’m preaching! We are all so busy… But in order to keep ourselves happy and healthy (and to give the best of ourselves to others), we have to take some time for ourselves. To recover, recharge, and relax. To see my first Self-Care Saturday post, click here! You’ll find some great tips for self-care. One of which is to be flexible… meaning, sometimes you can’t take the time you need right when you want it. Usually, I take some “me time” on Saturdays. Obligations and errands got in the way of this sacred time; so I made a point to take that time today, Sunday. 

I lit my favorite crackling candles; I made some tea; The Atlanta Falcons are playing (and I get to watch it without distractions!); There is a cool breeze coming in from outside; and I’m writing (one of my favorite hobbies). All with my girl, Ally, by my side (or outside looking at my neighbors).

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(Ally was sooo thrilled that I woke her up from her nap to take a picture with her!)

How do you use your self-care time?

 

 

Self-Care Saturday (10/17)

Last Saturday, I decided to devote every Saturday to a Self-Care post. In case you missed it, you can check out the first Self-Care Saturday here

As some of you may know, this is my first year in my career as a school counselor. Not only am I trying to learn the ins and outs of my school and my job, I have to handle many tough situations and crisis’ on a daily basis. I want to give the best of me to my students. Oftentimes, my “Good morning!” and smile to them when they walk in the building is the first positive interaction they’ve had since they left school the day before. If I’m tired, worn down, or distracted, I won’t be able to do my job effectively. So today I took some time for self-care… some “me time,” if you will! 

I spent some time with my fur-baby. I really value this time because during the school-week, she doesn’t see me very much.

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I had some sangria. Hands down, my favorite guilty pleasure. 

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And (my favorite part), I took a nap! Zzzzzzz…. When you feel sleep-deprived all week, it is so important to catch up when you can. Even if it’s just a power-nap.

What do you do for self-care?

 

Self-Care Saturday (10/10)

Self-care. I hadn’t even heard of the word until graduate school. It’s still a concept that I’m not very good at…but I’m working on it. So what is it?

Self-care is any activity that one does in order to promote mental, physical, emotional, etc. wellness. It means taking care of yourself… Taking the time to do things for yourself. It looks different for everybody. But it also is something that you can include others in. For example, going to the movies with a friend can be a way of self-care for someone.  

My job can be extremely stressful. From breaking up fights, to helping students through trauma, teaching in the classroom, and about 10,000 other things, I am physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted by the end of the week. Thankfully, school doesn’t meet on weekends, which gives me two days (sometimes) to recharge. This is my opportunity to take care of myself. In order to give my students the best of me, I have to take this time. Otherwise, I’ll be burnt out by Wednesday. 

For those who struggle with self-care, you are not alone! It can feel selfish and wrong to do at times. You might be pulled in 100 different directions everyday. Your kids need you; your pets need you; your spouse/significant other needs you; your family needs you; your boss needs you; your co-workers need you; you have a house to clean; you need to go to the grocery story; you have errands to run; and that’s only the tip of the iceberg. 

Here are my tips to Self-Care: 

  1. Schedule time for yourself. It may seem silly… but if you need a babysitter to watch your kids so you can escape for a bit, then you’ve got to plan ahead! I’m a calendar person. I’ve got to put everything in my agenda. And I love having that visual of “Self-Care” on my Saturday box (or whatever day). It gives me something to work towards. It’s that prize at the end of a race. Think of the time as an appointment. It’s for your health. It can’t be rescheduled unless absolutely necessary. 
  2. Be flexible. This might seem contradictory to the last point, but hear me out. If you’ve had a tough day and you’re drained by the time you get home at the end of the day, take some time for yourself. Even if it’s just 20 minutes. Not only do you need it, you deserve it. If something comes up when you’re supposed to have your scheduled self-care time, go with the flow… and make sure to fit in that self-care as soon as you can.
  3. Don’t half-ass it. Put your all into this time. You’ll be able to recharge quicker. Don’t check your work email while at the nail salon getting a pedicure. As the great Ron Swanson from Parks and Recreation said, “Don’t half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing.” You’ll thank yourself later!
  4. It doesn’t have to be expensive or take all day. If you want an undisturbed nap, take an hour! There are plenty of things that you can do to take care of yourself that don’t require a large chunk of time! Some of my favorite things for self-care in a time crunch are: reading a chapter or two in my book, taking a nap, working out, getting a manicure or pedicure, going to see a movie, date night with my husband, going on a run with my dog, etc!
  5. Do something that makes you happy. You do things for others to make them happy. Now, do something for yourself that makes you happy! If you want to catch up with an old friend over coffee, do it. If you want to hike a trail, do it. Heck, if you want to go sky-diving, do it. Now, you might end up more tired than you were before you did it (like sky-diving), but a lot of times, self-care is directed more towards mental recharging. 

I’ve decided to dedicate Saturday posts to self-care. This will help keep me accountable for this sacred time (because, honestly, I don’t self-care as much as I should). It will also give ideas to others and strategies to use when self-care is needed!

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For the past couple of weeks, I’ve used my self-care time to discover new trails with Ally. The exercise, the peaceful waterfall, and the time with Ally (watching her have too much fun in the water) calmed my mind and recharged my batteries. Self-care Saturday is my favorite.

 

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