I used to think of rest as doing nothing. It freaks me out because there is sometimes nothing worse than an idle mind full of “shoulds” and the fear of missing out.
Others think of rest (from a sport in talking about) as easy cross training, not weight bearing movement etc.
Actually, rest is neither of those things. In my experience, rest is two things:
1.) Not moving very much in the same way as before
2.) Doing something completely different than the activity you are resting from
In my time off, I’ve been obsessively reading. Or well, I’ve been spending the time I would be running or lifting with my nose in a book.
Sure, I’ve done a lot more of those things too recently, but when I am actively NOT PARTICIPATING in my one hobby, running, I get really into my other hobby: reading.
Rest should be about that. It’s not about doing nothing at all or active rest, it’s about doing the other things you enjoy that don’t stress your body in the same way. For my friend Laura Kline, it’s cooking (and I love it when she’s in a taper or rest period…bring on the treats!)
It is purposeful in that I was tired and needed a break, but also I don’t find I have to force it either. My mind isn’t going to that place. You know that place some athletes get where they have it in their mind “I am reading/watching TV/cooking etc because I am supposed to be resting.”
That mindset takes the enjoyment out of rest for me. I am reading because I like it. I am not running because it stopped being fun and I was on the brink of injury. I do not think of reading as “the activity I am doing because I am not supposed to be running.”
I think of reading or socializing or whatever as something fun I enjoy and have time to do. I’m not thinking of it as an “I would rather be…” activity.
I’ll take that.