It wasn’t too long ago that a rest day for me meant eating what ever I wanted, not moving at all (other than to adjust my position on the couch), and not thinking about anything except the game or show that I was watching at that moment.
The thing is, I would go to bed after a day like this and not feel very rested at all. In fact, I would feel bloated, restless, achy, and anxious about the week ahead because. Of course, I didn’t learn from these feelings, I thought they were normal. Yes, I thought bloat and anxiety were “normal”. . .sigh.
Then, about a year ago, I decided to take charge of my rest day. It wasn’t a drastic change at all (I don’t believe drastic change is ever the way to go about things if you want them to last), instead, I changed small habits over time until I realized that my “rest” day had become a day that was really setting me up for the perfect week ahead.
So, what does this day look like and how can you make the best of your rest day? Here are my top 3 activities that make for what I consider the best rest day ever:
- Don’t over do it on the treats! One of the biggest temptations on a rest day from exercise is to also rest on your diet. I’m like most of you and I LOVE my treats, so I definitely like to indulge a little more here and there but, I don’t use my rest day to overload. Why? Because it makes it that much harder the next day to get back on track. Overdoing it also can lead to guilt about binging (I’ve been there) and feeling incredibly sluggish the next day, not very beneficial for a morning workout. If you want to indulge a little when relaxing or taking a day off from working out, by all means do it! But don’t eat the whole pizza or the whole carton of ice cream.
- Move! Wait, but its my rest day! Yes, I know but sitting on the couch all day isn’t a good idea either. Moving on your rest day doesn’t mean adding in another workout, it means to do some sort of “active recovery”. Your muscles have been working hard and they need to be stretched out or worked out with the help of foam rolling which is like a self massage for your over worked muscles. Doing something nice for your sore muscles on your rest days will help in preventing possible injuries which will make for a happier you in the long run. I tend to do 15 minutes of yoga in the mornings and also 15 minutes before bed. I also like to take walks with my family. Bottom line: a rest day is not about being a complete sloth, do something kind for your body.
- Do something that makes your heart and mind full. A rest day is not a day to zone out and binge watch Netflix, ok, maybe this isn’t so bad once in awhile. But, we can’t always be zoning out and letting life pass us by. A rest day is a great day to get into a good book, journal, meditate, watch a good documentary, or listen to a good podcast (here is my current favorite) Growing your mind is JUST as important (if not more important) than growing your muscles. If you aren’t at peace mentally, then what is on the outside does not really matter. Lastly, and maybe even most importantly, fill your heart. Ok, this sounds so cheesy but we all need a little fill up on the things that make our heart happy. This could be some extra family time, a walk in the woods, or coffee with your best friend. What ever activity fills your heart with the good stuff is what you should be doing. My rest days always include a little journaling, a little reading from either a personal development or health related book, and always some undivided family time.
There you have it, my top 3 activities for having the best rest day ever. As you can see, the list is short and sweet because a rest day should be not only enjoyable but it should be YOURS, no one can dictate to you how you spend your day(s) of rest but following a simple formula can help maximize them and help you fill up before you get back to the grind.
What are some of your favorite “to-dos” for rest days? I would love to hear them. Drop me a comment below.