Today I’ve been prescribed a “rest day” by my personal trainer – which makes me so happy, because it means I’ve been working hard enough to justify giving my body a break. Yay!
We had this lovely moment earlier in the week when he asked how often I was exercising, and I said “on the exercise bike, three times a day, twenty minutes each session”.
He shook his head in sorrow.
“That’s not enough,” he said. “You need to be aiming for thirty or forty minute sessions, and when you’re not doing that, you should go out for a powerwalk.”
I was silent for a while, feeling a little put out that all the effort I’d been putting in wasn’t considered enough; also, although my physical well-being is high on my agenda right now, there are other things I want and need to be doing – I don’t want to spend all day, every day exercising.
He went on, “Coming here twice a week and then only cycling three times a week won’t get you where you want to be.”
The light went on in my head. “No – I said three times a day!”
“Really?” He looked impressed. “Yes, that’s enough. Though you might want to mix up the session times.”
So on Wednesday I did a 40 minute “long, slow” session, a 30 minute interval session, and a 20 minute “go hard” session. Yesterday I did 40 minutes early in the morning, a 30 minute PT session with him later in the morning, and a final 20 minute session in the evening; and today is a rest day, and next Tuesday will also be a rest day. (When we discussed rest days, I thought he’d suggest only one per week, but who am I to argue with the expert?)
This morning, it got me thinking: what’s the equivalent of a rest day when dealing with mental health issues? I spend a lot of time working on my mental health: preparation for and reflecting on therapy twice a week, tracking and keeping all my medications in stock (there are nine prescriptions and one non-prescription medication I need to keep tabs on), doing homework I’ve set myself such as reading more about CBT, ACT or DBT, reading up on mental health research, and – of course! – spending time on WordPress reading and sharing stories. Perhaps I need a day a week when I cut back on some of these activities.
It might be worth thinking about.