Intuitive Eating, Self-care

should you exercise when you’re sick?

If you follow me on Instagram you will know that I have been battling a sinus infection for the last 9 days. It has been super frustrating especially because we just moved to Philly and I want to get out and do things and work. I’m terrible at resting, as my husband can attest, but I am really trying so I can get better.

One thing I’ve given up during this time is exercise. I love exercising for a variety of reasons and find it beneficial for my overall health, but when I am sick exercise is the last thing I need. Don’t get me wrong, I miss moving my body and feeling strong. I cannot wait till I’m better and can resume with normal life, but I won’t sacrifice my health for a workout.

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This current mindset is drastically different than what it used to be. In my eating disorder and even in recovery, I followed a rigid exercise regime. I had to work out at least X times a week, for X amount of time, and I wouldn’t consider it a workout unless it was heart-pumping. Rain or shine, sick or tired I worked out. I was so afraid that if I missed one workout, I would gain weight. I also believed that if I didn’t work out, I couldn’t eat. So, no matter how sick I was, I would fit in a full workout.

I will post later about my journey with exercise, but this is the gist. My addiction to exercise really started shifting about 5 years ago, when I injured my knee. I had to stop working out completely and then find other ways to move my body. This experience completely broke me. I had to face my fears.

Through this injury (which I am still working on), I learned to trust my body with food and exercise. I learned that my body doesn’t need to go through intense exercise to be healthy. I picked up other forms of movement like walking, yoga, pilates, lifting, and swimming, and fit them into my exercise options. I learned that I could and need to still eat and eat enough even when I’m not exercising. My body didn’t blow up and I didn’t instantly gain tons of weight.

If you struggle with an eating disorder or exercise addiction or are even just afraid of gaining weight, let me tell you that you can trust your body. Are bodies are so smart, and if we actually tune into them, they tell us what we need (what to eat, if we should move our body, etc.).

Robyn, one of my favorite bloggers, has taught me so much about how exercise affects our bodies and hormones. Her posts have challenged me to listen to my body and evaluate why I exercise. I’ve learned that intense exercise when I’m in a stressful time of life, sick, or tired actually causes more harm than good (see her posts here and here).

I’m not saying exercise is bad. In fact, I love moving my body, and cannot wait to do so mindfully once I am better, but there is flexibility. Exercise should be enjoyable not add stress or harm.

When someone is recovering from being sick, their body needs energy to heal itself. That means rest and adequate nutrition. It is okay to skip exercise for a couple days or weeks, if that’s what it takes to heal your body.

I say this as someone who knows the fear of gaining weight from missing a workout, and yet I’ve also learned that there is so much flexibility. I can trust my body. In these last 9 days, I haven’t instantly gained weight or lost all my muscle mass, and I’m eating the exact same.

In the larger scheme of things, missing a couple workouts, make little difference in my life. My goal is to take care of my body so I can live life to the fullest and love others well. Life is so much more than exercise.

 

 

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life, Self-care

what is balance?

This post is way overdo since the title of my blog is all about balance. So, let me tell you what balance means to me.

Balance has been a theme for me this past year. A year ago, I was burnt out from 9-5 jobs which left me little energy, time, or motivation to invest in what I truly cared about. I found myself expending all my energy into work that wasn’t fulfilling and then coming home irritable, tired, and uninspired. I had been struggling with my work/energy balance for several years, but it became especially apparent once I got married. Blake is wonderful at resting and encouraging me to rest. Even to this day I’ll complain about being exhausted, yet I keep doing things, and he reminds me I need to really stop and do nothing.

So, this past fall, I had had enough running around and constantly being busy, and I wanted to slow down and truly take care of myself. That’s when I joined Beautycounter, which for the first time ever I loved what I did and felt purposeful in my work. I also quit my full-time job so I could have more flexibility and balance, and I started making space to listen to my body, mind, emotions, and spirit.

All of this was a choice. I wrestled hard to actually come to terms with my needs and desires, even if they weren’t mainstream.

Our culture today is always on the go, keeping packed social schedules, always working or moving to the next thing. Busyness is the norm, stress is normal, and being tapped out is normal. Some people may have the capacity to always be busy, but I can’t. I need space in my life to rest, be creative, engage with those I love, move my body, and learn.

This brings up the question, what does it mean to thrive? For me, it’s rejecting the survival mentality and taking time to care for myself by getting enough sleep, eating at least 3 meals a day, moving my body regularly, giving myself permission to rest, and practicing self-care. I don’t want to look back on my life and remember being tires all the time and just getting by. I want to remember that I embrace life and the beauty around me…and I can’t do that when I am in survival mode.

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For me, balance is about giving myself permission to trust myself and take care of my whole self. That means resting when I’m sick, taking a day off from exercise, eating more simply when life is busy, living amongst boxes because there are so many other things to be put energy into right now, and letting my body be the shape it is meant to be.

I struggle to write this now because I feel so out of balance. Our move has shaken up the balance I had in Minnesota. This week I found myself getting frustrated that I hadn’t found a rhythm yet, but then Blake lovingly reminded me that it takes time. It does take time and patience. Now I am excited to discover a new rhythm for my life in Philly.

It’s hard to let go of the things that fill up our lives. It’s hard to be quiet. It’s hard to slow down or say no when everyone else around you is constantly busy.

But what is your body telling you? Are you feeling burnt out, tired, uninspired? Maybe it’s time to check the balance and rhythm in your life.

What is your favorite form of self-care?