For the last 15 years I’ve been exercising about 4-5 times a week. During this time, the longest period I’ve spent without dancing, yoga or any other type of exercise has probably been around two weeks. Therefore, you can probably imagine my horror when my physiotherapist noticed I had symptoms of overtraining and overstrained muscles and recommended me at least a month without exercising (read more about the reasons in my previous blog post). Now, that the month is over, and I’ve returned to my dance practices it seems like the perfect time to sit down and reflect on the past four weeks. How did I do, both physically and mentally? And most importantly, what have I learned from all this?
THE PHYSICAL ASPECT
I am a bit surprised of my own answer here. I thought I would have been feeling a lot of anxiety and restlessness throughout the month, but the truth is, I didn’t. I actually managed rather well. Maybe even better mentally than I did physically. My body clearly wasn’t used to all this rest it was suddenly given and acted like an alcoholic with abstinence symptoms. My joints would crack all the time and I’d get sore muscles from just walking.
However, little by little my body seemed to “get used” to resting and in a way “surrendered” to it which is when I started to see, and feel, some results. The exercises given by my physiotherapist felt a lot easier and the tear in the back of my thigh loosened up a bit. When I was finally able to go back to dance class I also noticed quite quickly, after a minor scare on the first day, that it felt completely different from before. Resting had clearly worked.
THE PSYCHICAL ASPECT
Well, that was the physical part but how about the psychical? Like I mentioned I think I did quite well. I suddenly had loads of extra hours in the day which I used to meet friends, write blog posts and take pictures. However, the more time that passed the more I started to value the fact that I didn’t have anything planned. I stopped booking dates and photo shoots with my friends and spent my evenings at home watching Netflix instead. And best of all, I didn’t feel bad about it in any way. I even dare to say that I ended up enjoying the situation. Maybe because I knew it was only temporary.
Either way, the last month has taught me that I don’t always have to have something productive to do. I don’t have to fill out every hour of the day with an activity. It is perfectly fine to sometimes just enjoy the art of doing nothing. I’d even say it’s recommendable, if not necessary, for both body and mind. This is the biggest lesson I learned from it all.