I decided to take the day off from exercising today, the first complete day of rest in months (perhaps over a year). No running, for obvious reasons, but also no biking, no walking, no swimming, no yoga, no foam rolling. Nothing. A day of true rest for my body.
It was agony. I felt restless. Irritable. Senselessly enraged. I felt like a teenager. My teenaged mind was a terrifying place. I thought I was losing my mind.
I tried to work (sit down, stand up, sit down, stand up, pace the hallway, squat, stand, sit -an hour of constantly shifting posture) but eventually gave up in despair. I researched exercise withdrawal. It is a real phenomenon. I fell down an awful hole of Wikipedia and obscure medical studies. I told my boyfriend I was losing touch with reality, to which he (ever wise) smiled and said, “no, it just feels like you are,” and continued to eat his lunch.
Inconsolable, I grabbed my journal, perched next to the cat on the bed, and scribbled my panic into words.
A small, responsible sounding voice in my head suggested lunch might be a good idea. As a rule, I don’t like to listen to the responsible voices when I am feeling irrational and I was positive I was not hungry, but I am trying to become a more even-tempered person and so prepared myself a salad.
Ten minutes later, I ravaged my way through a bowl of lentils, edamame, cauliflower, parsnips, carrots, bok choi and avocado. My mind slowed. Control returned. I felt, quite unexpectedly, normal.
The top of my self-care chart now reads, in all caps and with underlines, WHEN FEELING CRAZY, EAT (even if you haven’t exercised today).