Summertime Recovery

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"Summer, Summer, Summertime, time to sit back and unwind" - will smith

Summertime is often a time to rest and relax.  Many of us plan vacations to get away.  However, how many of us actually rest during this time?  Often we pack our vacations and our summer with many activities just different ones.  When the end of summer comes, will you feel rested?

Rest and recovery is a key principle to performance in any athlete.  Basic, sports training protocols include a period of rest and recovery in any performance training program.  Athletes know that physical improvements from all of their hard training only occur during recovery time.  This is true for both mind and body.  Sleep is the equivalent physical rest for the mind.  Growing evidence shows the importance of sleep in decreasing inflammation in the body and the brain.

Make rest a priority this summer.  Despite the drive to fill this time with summer activities and projects, find ways to make rest a part of your summer.

  1. Do Less. Make a conscious effort to double your estimation of how long any activities will take.  Give yourself more time with one activity to truly enjoy it.  Even with summer housework projects put limits on how much you want to achieve.  Give yourself permission to say "No" when things come up that threaten this easier schedule.
  2. Schedule Rest Time. Rest time can slowly slip away as we plan our summer. Put "rest" on your calendar just as you would any other activity.
  3. Try a relaxing activity. Try a low intensity activity something that quiets you mind. Put the earphones and audio away and just get absorbed in that activity.  It can be something as simple and out of the routine as stargazing, painting a bookcase or looking for shells on the beach.
  4. Be mindful during your vacations. Really enjoy your surroundings when you get away. Take time to get really interested in everything about the new experience you are about to enjoy.  Push away other demands on your time as much as possible and just enjoy the moment.
  5. Take an Adult Nap. As adults sometimes actually sleeping during the day can disrupt our sleep cycle. I call an adult nap a period of time where you just rest, recline and do something quite without an I-phone or a TV.  This can be crossword puzzle, reading a magazine or just swinging in a hammock. 
  6. Get out into Nature. Even if you are not the "outdoorsy" type, our brains are still wired to be cued into nature. Sounds, pictures and being out in nature naturally restore our minds.  Find you personal "green zone" whether this is your backyard or a local park and just enjoy some scheduled time outside.

Take back your summer.  Rest your body, mind and spirit and I guarantee you'll be ready to take on the world this fall. 

 

Dr. Sharyl Truty is a Board Certified Sports Medicine Physician and fellowship trained in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona. She is owner of Balanced Physician Care in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.