Rest days – Just a Fancy Word for Quitting
I struggle to take rest days. As a mom, a full time employee, and studio owner, my days are filled from the moment I wake up to the moment I finally go to bed. As a pole dancer and long distance runner I have to carve out time to training and rehearse. I make it a priority because I recognize the importance of maintaining a sense of self and having a reprieve from being a mom, wife, employee, decision maker, and business owner. With running and pole dance, I am just me and it’s wonderful. Pole dancing and long distance running are activities that a majority of people can’t or won’t do. It takes commitment and hard work to persevere through the physical and mental challenges that both activities present. But when I accomplish a new PR, complete a race, or nail a new pole trick, I feel powerful, utterly invincible. What an amazing, addictive feeling!! It’s because of that drive that I have that makes it hard for me to take a rest day. The well educated health and fitness side of me knows and recognizes the importance and value in taking rest days. I can feel when a rest day is needed. I’m more tired, sluggish, and just don’t feel on top of my game. But the side of me that is driven, passionate, and, frankly, really stubborn, thinks that a rest day is just a fancy word for quitting. I don’t quit. I have a hard time letting go of something I am passionate about because I feel like I failed. And rest days are letting go of training, even if it is for just one day. These two parts of me are in a constant battle about when to take rest days.
So how do I finally decide a rest day is necessary? I can’t say that I have finally mastered myself and have found the secret to knowing how to effectively take rest days. All I can say is, right now, it is a struggle that is ever-present in my mind. The same reason we cross-train, stretch, weight lift, and endurance train – to ensure that we are strong and to help prevent injury or overuse – is the same reason why we need to take rest days. Rest days are as essential to maintaining a safe, injury-free training regimen. Luckily, I have pole instructors that put safety in pole dancing and safety in training first and foremost. They are well-educated in the aspects of dance medicine and performance safety and it helps me to have that influence.
So while I still struggle to ensure I take those very important rest days, I have the knowledge and the resources to remind me of their importance. And that helps. A little.