A lazy day?
Years ago, I didn't know how that would look like. I used to be a crazy cardio bunny who would run day in and day out, all the time, especially in the weekends. I never gave myself a rest, even if I needed it. I probably didn't even hear my body asking for it.
Even now, while I consider myself being recovered from insane exercising, I sometimes forget to take a break from working out and spend a lazy day.
The same thing is true for getting myself off from the computer. Sometimes there are things that actually can't wait and have to be done right this minute, but to be honest, there are definitely times when we would actually benefit more from resting and relaxing than desperately trying to cross off all the things in the to-do list.
The Magic Happens When You Rest
Sometimes, you just need to take your rest. Not only from working out, but also from other commitments, and simply spend a lazy day.
Everybody has heard about the importance of sleep, rest and recovery, but most of us still overlook those things. We tend to think that as long as we get our workout in and eat a green salad every day, we've done the most important things.
But the magic actually happens when we are resting. We need to let our body and mind to relax, if we want to get better results in our workouts and diet and become happier and healthier people overall.
On Saturday I was listening to another episode of the Fat Burning Man podcast with a celebrity trainer Jay Cardiello. There were a lot of extremely useful nuggets of information in this show and I couldn't help but just nod my head.
One of Cardiello's points was that in order to workout better, lose fat, get your nutrition in order and improve the overall quality of your life, you have to get a proper rest.
Or, as he put it: If you want to get ahead in life, you have to stop.
I totally believe it, but neglect it too often. However, Saturday was a perfect day when I took my time to stop: To actually rest, sleep, read, and spend an overall lazy day.
A Perfectly Lazy Saturday
On Saturday, I actually planned to be really lazy. I'm always teaching a bootcamp on Saturday mornings, which is my favorite class to teach during a whole week. People are in an especially good mood and happy on Saturdays, despite the class starting at 7am. Honestly, teaching this class doesn't feel like work at all.
After teaching my class in the morning, I did a simple and very careful kettlebell workout (making sure that my back I had hurt the other day is safe). Here are some exercises that I did, all with very light weights: Goblet squats, one arm overhead carries and one arm overhead lunges.
After that, I ran some errands and had a super tasty meal in one of my favorite Thai restaurants in Berkeley.
Then, I let all the laziness begin!
El Niño is in full swing right now, which made spending the time inside even easier. It was raining all day, which removed all temptations to go outside (until the end of the day when I took a little walk).
Here are a few things I did on my perfectly lazy day:
I didn't open my computer all day. Normally I spend way too many hours a day, nose in my computer. Being able to work from anywhere is definitely the best part of my job, but it can also be really exhausting–you never feel that you're actually resting.
Even if you are not working on your computer but opening it for other things, like reading news and emails and or course, hanging out in social media, it's still a good idea to keep the laptop fully closed at least once a week. Staring at the screen and clicking back and forth between about a hundred windows that we have open, keeps us wired and has nothing to do with relaxing.
I didn't stay away from all social media though. Checking Instagram at least twice a day is kind of an addiction for me. So, there are still things to work on.
I spent 4-5 hours reading my book. Last week, I started reading a book called “10 % Happier”. I had heard many good things about it and it seemed to be an interesting read for someone who's struggling with a racing mind and is having hard to focusing (totally me).
The author, TV news anchor Dan Harris describes how he went from being extremely overworked, stressed and wired all the time, to calming down the annoying voices in his head, reducing stress and finding the inner piece he had been looking for. Right now, I'm about halfway through and reading about his 10-day meditation retreat. I'm not sure if I would ever do it myself (but so thought Harris…), but is extremely interesting to read about.
I took a nap. I don't usually take naps, because when I wake up in the middle of a day, I'm often cranky, hungry and feeling that I wasted my time. Yesterday, because I had decided that I'm going to take an absolutely lazy day, the nap felt awesome. I fell asleep hearing the raindrops falling and feeling super peaceful.
When I woke up, I didn't feel bad for myself for wasting my time–for not working like I should or not going out like most people do on Saturday nights. I felt so rested and didn't have the slightest desire to go anywhere. I kept reading instead, and it felt awesome.
I went out for a walk. Later that day, I went out for a walk. It was raining, and while I had even enjoyed being inside and not rushing anywhere, by the end of the day I was ready for a little walk.
I put on my podcast and went. Even though I ended up getting pretty wet, the walk still made me feel really good.
I meditated. Well, sort of. My husband is using this meditation technique, Holosync, and has really liked it. He says that it makes it easier to get the unstoppable racing of thoughts under control and clarify the mind.
I tried it out yesterday and it was actually really nice. I listened to it for about 25 minutes while focusing on deep breathing. The goal is not to stop thinking about anything at all and I like the idea of it. I think that's a complete misunderstanding about meditation that keeps people from even trying anything like this. But if you try to just focus on breathing, it just naturally pulls your thoughts away from all of the things that are distracting you.
Apparently that happened to me too, because after listening to it for a while, I was so ready to sleep. A perfect ending to a lazy day.
I slept. I thought that I'm going to have hard time falling asleep after all that extremely relaxing day. I'm not a good sleeper and I've been struggling with sleep for years.
But Saturday was different. I honestly slept like a baby. When I usually sleep 6-7 hours, then on Saturday night, I slept nine hours straight. I believe that all those things–reading, napping, meditating, unplugging–made it possible. I felt much calmer inside than I usually do.
Get more sleep seems to be such a popular thing to say, but it really is true. I felt like I was born again even after just one day of letting myself to be completely lazy and not to think about any commitments at all. I can only wonder how it felt when I spent more time like that.
Obviously, none of us has a luxury of napping and reading all day every day. But taking just a day every week, or spending just 20-30 minutes every day doing something really relaxing could probably make a big difference. We could add these 30 minutes to our sleep by going to bed earlier, or read a a book or take a rest from exercise if we are actually feeling tired.
Do you ever take lazy days? What do they look like for you?