Spring 2018 - Week 6: Giving Myself Permission

We are still right in the middle of the hardest part of Body Back, going into Week 6. Last week, I vowed to find motivation and push harder. I did: I fit in all of my scheduled at-home workouts and stayed with the meal plan, even though I didn’t have a lot of time for prep. That meant a lot of last-minute meals, and spontaneity is not my specialty on weeknights.

At class this week, our introduction question was, “What’s one thing you are proud of?” I talked about being a working mom – I’m proud that I juggle working full-time with raising two kids, and adding in freelance contracts and other “extracurricular” side projects on top of it. I said that some weeks I balance the responsibilities better than other weeks, but I always make it work.

And then it hit me as I was talking: I’m tired. This week, I’m just tired. So, while last week I vowed to push harder, this week I decided to give myself permission to rest. And for me, that proved more challenging than summoning the motivation to push harder.

When I’m doing Body Back, I try to get in some sort of workout six days a week. I’ve found that when I don’t move my body, I feel worse, physically and mentally. But this past week, I decided to honor the rest days that my instructor emphasizes are crucial to recovery while building the strength and results we see at the end.

So I slowed down my pace. I skipped one of my usual workouts and scaled back another to a more manageable level. I let go of the guilt of giving less than 100%. One night, I lay in bed with my 5-year-old to tell him a bedtime story and fell asleep there. When my husband woke me up, I dragged myself from my son’s bed to my own, and was asleep for the night before 8:30 PM. The next morning, I woke up and felt amazing – so refreshed that I was able to hit a solid 4-mile run as part of my 5K training plan.

Even at class, I listened to my body and modified the exercises to do what felt right on that day, at that moment. This is one of the things about Body Back that I love best: All of the instructors stress the importance of honoring your body and where you are at that day. When I look around the room at class, I think it’s amazing to see moms at all different levels, all working hard in ways that challenge themselves uniquely. If something doesn’t feel right, you do something else, with no shame and no regret.

That’s what I did this week. I honored my body, gave myself permission to slow down, and took the week at my own pace with no shame and no regret. Now I’m going into Week 6 more focused than before, precisely because I practiced giving myself grace. Just like a muscle, it’s a skill that gets stronger with practice.