‘Tis the season to be tired. The year-end demands at work are colliding with the demands of the holiday season, and I am being squeezed in the middle, burning the candle at both ends. The easiest way for me to get more sleep is to skip my morning workout, but how do I know when taking a rest day really is the right thing to do?
I know that regular rest days are an essential part of a fitness program, but my morning workout is one of my favorite parts of my day. I’m hooked on those endorphins, rely on those sweat sessions to diffuse stress, and–especially this time of year–count on the calorie burn and metabolism boost to balance my indulgent eating. So, when life interferes with my regular schedule, I find myself stressing over taking an extra rest day.
After a three-city, cross-country business trip in November, I was hoping for a quiet December, but even before I had unpacked I had these trips on my agenda.
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This schedule doesn’t even include my day trip to New Jersey on the train last Wednesday. My train got back into D.C. at 6:30 pm, which left me just enough time to drive across town and be only 10 minutes late for a dinner meeting. Luckily, the parking garage I used closed at 10:00, because that gave me an excuse to duck out “early” and get home before bed time.
I was so exhausted, though. When I got home I checked my agenda for the morning to make sure I didn’t have to be in the office, and decided to give myself permission to hit the snooze button. I planned to sleep in, go for a run, and then head into the office by mid-morning. I did sleep until 6:30 (I usually get up at 5:00), but by the time I’d taken Tiger Lilly out for a long walk, the items on my work to-do list were whirling in my head, building up a storm of stress. Instead of going out for a run, I decided that I needed to get into work. I wasn’t happy about missing my workout, but it was the right decision at the time.
As it turns out, my day ended with a meeting out of the office, and I was able to get home early and hop on the treadmill before dinner. I just as easily could have taken a nap, but I didn’t think I should pass up the opportunity for a workout twice in the same day.
I was treated to this gorgeous sunset when I got home!
Friday was another long day at work, made longer by a flare-up of blepharitis (inflamed eyelids). I was too miserable to go to our office holiday party, and even more miserable when I decided that I would not be able to join the MRTT group run Saturday morning–I figured the exposure to wind and sweat would not speed my recovery.
Saturday morning brought another “rest day” dilemma. I already had decided not to run, and when my eyelid still was swollen when I woke up, I decided to skip working out altogether. After taking Tiger Lilly for her walk, I treated my eyes with a warm compress, and started my holiday baking. I don’t think spending 16 hours on your feet in the kitchen really counts as taking a rest day, but I didn’t get my heart rate up or break a sweat.
After being up past midnight, I was still physically tired when I woke up Sunday, but I wanted to go to church and deliver a few tins of cookies to my Mom, so I dragged myself out of bed. While enjoying the crisp air as I walked Tiger Lilly, I decided that I would go for a run after church.
Even a run on a cold, gray day has its rewards!
With that run, I worked out six days last week, which is my usual goal. But, as I head into another crazy week–that trip to L.A., a drive to PA to get my son from college, another important meeting at work–I need to remember that it’s OK to take an extra rest day if I need one. I am realizing that there’s a difference between being tired–which I can push through with an extra trip to Starbucks–and being exhausted–which demands rest.
How do you cope when you are tired?
Do you stress over taking extra rest days?