This week, I’ve been reflecting on the benefit of pacing myself and the importance of rest to my mental health. This ability to take time and make space for recovery is vital but often feels at odds with goals, especially when we may have so many things we “need” to do.
In my endurance sport days (which are now a fair few years ago), I remember how much better I felt once I’d taken a rest day and the time to recover. It often felt counterintuitive and there was certainly a part of me the was saying “you should be training”. Sometimes I listened and a lot of times I didn’t. In those times, I remember more than a few occasions when I drove myself into the ground and paid the price.
Back before my then, in a “less healthy” phase (read into that what you will), this pattern of not pacing myself or taking any time to recover was certainly alive and kicking. I remember feeling that I needed a rest, or some time out but it was very difficult to do so. A lot of the time, I know it was an attempt to keep some difficult feelings at bay and outrun them. It worked for a while but eventually it caught up with me.
Over the years, I’ve certainly noticed this pattern happening not just in health but in other areas of my life such as work, leisure and relationships too.
Now I feel like I have much more of an ability to be in tune with my body and mind. This awareness provides an option to pace myself, recover a little more effectively and hopefully not burnt out. I definitely still get drawn into that “doing” part of me but by building awareness of what my mind and body are telling me, I’m able to hear when it’s time to rest and I can even occasionally take action around it!
I often hear similar patterns working with clients who are so eager to change or for things to be different, that they can end up driving themselves into exhaustion.
It can be helpful to acknowledge and validate that its a vital part of anyone’s journey to set off at the right pace and also take time to rest along the way.
We often need to be patient and trust the process rather than forcing things upon ourselves.
After all, life can feel like a marathon not a sprint as the saying goes.
Are there any ways in which you're pacing yourself too quickly in your life now?
How can you take time to rest and reward yourself, rather than keep pushing on?