Answer: when your mind and body dictate it. Intuitive fitness is all about YOU taking control, so you aren’t a slave to pre-programmed gym thresholds or other people’s ideas. You are the king of your own jungle, the queen of your own needs and desires.
As a quick recap, yesterday was full of drama everywhere. My roommate, Bruno, had an accident, and it was my fault to a certain degree. I was feeling guilty the whole day at work, and even more when I learned he had fractured his tailbone. On top of that, my girlfriend was really mad at me and stopped replying to my messages. When I finally could leave my work, I was hungry, angry, and sad – I was having pretty much every negative feeling you can have at the same time.
My dream that night was representative of my state of mind. I was in a tall building and the elevator was broken. I had to climb the stairs and they were a pain. Every new floor I reached was the same number as the one before, and I grew angry and desperate. But then I walked out of the stairs and tried to find another way to get to the top of the building through endless hallways that felt like a maze. When I got to where I was supposed to be, my girlfriend and roomie were both very angry at me and ignored me. Maybe I should try lucid dreaming!
But then I woke up and had a message from Isabella. “That’s fine. You’ve been through a lot, I guess”. No smileys, no colors. She was still mad at me. At an age my friends were all married, I felt like a teenager, ‘on the edge of 17’, I thought to myself, recalling the Stevie Nicks song. Gotta play that later.
Getting Yourself Back Together
Depression strikes me now and then, and it is completely unexpected. Yesterday, my exercise session helped me drain all my negative feelings away, but they were back. I even woke up and completely forgot about my daily routine, my meditation, and my healthy habits.
I replied to Bella with another apology, asked about plans, and started mumbling to myself. I was in the middle of my breakfast cereal and then I remembered I was missing something important. So, I tried to get myself together and activated my diffuser with a blend of Bergamot and Lemon essential oils.
I tried to enjoy my breakfast as much as possible and took my time, trying to do one of those eating meditations I’m not very good at. But this time it worked. I examined the taste, the aromas and each one of the components in my food. How they grew for months to feed me, and how this eating practice connects me with nature.
That’s important to me. It helps.
I decided to eat an additional portion of fruits along with my breakfast cereals. Three strawberries and one piece of watermelon. Then, I prepared my meal and afternoon snack while calling Bruno to see how he was doing. As always, he talked a lot about his ex-wife, cute nurses, inevitable delays. “They want me to stay extra days and drain my insurance”. But he never lost his good vibes, and I admired him for being able to smile when everything else was falling apart. I wasn’t quite like that.
But the meditation session during breakfast helped me get my things together, and now I was preparing red beans and rice with roasted vegetables for my meal and carrot sticks as an afternoon snack.
After my meal prepping, I got ready for work. I needed to relax this time, and traffic was not very welcoming. So, I kept listening to one of my favorite albums by Alexandra Stréliski, INSCAPE. This was relaxing and exactly what I needed for my breathing exercises. I still felt sad, but I didn’t fall into the trap of blaming myself, as I used to do before this intuitive fitness lifestyle.
I need an active rest: benefits of work movements
My work today went without fuss. I was able to stretch as I used to do and did some sit-ups for every 45-minute session of sitting. I was also trying to keep active, using the stairs instead of the elevator (and remembering my weird dream as I did).
Fidgeting and doing extra movements with your body can make a difference in how much energy you burn every day. And I’m not talking about exercise. Exercise is previously planned and usually aims to fulfill certain goals and objectives. In contrast, being active while not exercising is easier and part of the everyday work you do, trying to stay aware of alternatives that burn extra energy in your day-to-day.
I exchanged a few messages with Isabella through the day. She was still a bit distant. I called one of these delivery companies that send messages and surprise snack baskets to people at work. I wrote a kind of love haiku for the card (!) and hoped for the best. Anyway, this small and relatively cheap delivery service helped me arrange a meeting with her tonight, at her place.
This is why we call it Intuitive Fitness
Yes, sometimes you need to rest, and this was a rest day for me. I do not take rest days lightly, and after a while I was able to tell when I really needed one and when it was just my body seducing me and fooling me to stop working out or use the principle of minimum effort.
This is why I considered having a rest day today:
- I was still emotionally worn down by this whole situation. My nerves were severely affected.
- I was physically tired and most body parts felt exhausted.
- This would be my first rest day in the whole week, which was about to be over.
- I would not be able to concentrate on working out. I had too much on my mind.
- That would give me more time to be with Bella and make things right.
However, as I said, this was an active rest day. When I was back home, I did some light yoga and stretching. It took no more than 15 minutes, but enough for a complete body reset. I also used a foam roller to massage my own back, legs, shoulders, and neck. It felt fantastic, and even though it wasn’t a very arduous workout session, it made a difference in my mood, and made me ready for the main event of the night. I also remembered my shower day-dream about Tai-Chi and made another mental note to investigate.
Making it up to her
When you ruin everything with your partner, making it up to her can be difficult, as we all know. You need to know what she likes, and the degree of attention she needs to feel better. When you finally score a few points in your favor, you also need to know when to stop, to avoid overdoing it.
Isabella didn’t like drawing attention to herself, and the snack basket was actually a bold move. But I instructed the delivery guys to be discreet and avoid making her feel uncomfortable. When I walked into her apartment, she was wearing that beautiful smile I missed so much. But I knew she would like to talk about it, so I brought up the subject myself, asking her “how do you feel?”. She knew what I was talking about, and when the conversation was over, we were entwined on the couch, tired, with the TV off. We fell sound asleep, cuddling and dreaming of tall buildings, without a maze, and with a fully-functioning elevator that we refused to take because we were on an active rest day.