These are the choices on the treadmill I use regularly: quick start, pause, and cool down. I can also enter a pre-programmed workout, but I always just press “quick start.”
Without an iPod this morning, and with no interest in the TV options, I found my pace and settled into my thoughts. My eyes again glanced at the words: “quick start, pause, cool down.” They began to mean more to me than options on a treadmill.
“Quick start.” I’m good at that, I thought. Get going, just do it, take action! I have that mastered! I am someone who finds it uncomfortable – really! – NOT to be productive.
I started thinking about the potential down side to that. Possible drawbacks include anxiety, trouble sleeping, . . . all of the consequences that result from not using another choice on the treadmill: RESET!
Everyone needs to reset hormones and brain chemistry, which in turn resets mood and restores a healthful balance. Adequate sleep, healthy eating, enjoyable physical activity, and pleasant interactions with people all help to keep body chemistry “happy.”
It goes beyond that as well. Balance brings more balance. Erratic hormones and brain chemistry, left unattended, often lead to more chaotic emotions and a less balanced lifestyle.
Among the many benefits of attention to self-supportive care are better sleep, less anxiety, and all-around better self-care. I know this sounds a bit repetitive, but my point is that good self-care leads to more good self-care. Unfortunately lack of attention to self-care makes it all too easy to skip a workout, eat poorly or skip meals, and let unsupportive thoughts run wild.
What we do not see is how body chemistry that we create through our actions can affect how we act moving forward. This is powerful knowledge! Work with your body, because mere will-power is no match for body chemistry!
This is where a “pause” or “cool down” can be very helpful. I’m right there with all of you overachievers and perfectionists! This can be hard, but it is absolutely necessary for health. For me, sleep is key. I know I need to wind down and pause at the end of my workday and resist the temptation to schedule one more appointment, answer one more e-mail, or make that last phone call. I know that ultimately this will lead to more efficient use of my time once I’m ready to “quick start” again.
I remind myself I can start again, but the most productive thing to do at that moment is to take a break and pause. Do you notice how I managed to call a pause “productive”? That is one way to make pausing a little easier for a productivity freak like myself.