I have a mixed relationship with the holidays. I love what I do, and I don’t look forward to taking time off. I feel the most alive when I’m writing, training, or working toward goals I care about.
I pretty much live by this quote by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, one of my favorite psychologists and author of Flow:
“The best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.”
But just because I love to push myself doesn’t mean I don’t get tired. To be honest, I’ve been on the edge of burnout for months now, driving myself hard in my work and training — just barely making enough time for sleep and recovery.
My brain feels “full.” I’m still getting through my workouts, but I haven’t had any PRs or big leaps for a while.
If I were working with a client, I would tell them it’s time for a break. I would explain how avoiding rest will stall their progress — that they need rest to keep progressing toward their life and fitness goals.
Because rest isn’t something we do as a reward for finishing the work we want to do — it’s part of the work.
It’s only through the combination of hard work and rest that we make real progress.
Of course, I write about these subjects because I have difficulty taking my own advice — but I’m trying to learn from my past mistakes. Although I would have treated Thanksgiving week like any other in the past, I now recognize that that approach kept me from enjoying the moment — and likely slowed my progress.
So this week, I’m going to take some time to get outside, connect with people I care about, read, reflect, and take it a little easier than I normally do. Maybe I’ll even let myself sleep past dawn.
I know that I’ll come back next week feeling reinvigorated and excited to get back to work.
What I’m reading
Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, and Neuroscience All Agree: Your Daily Routine Needs More ‘Non-time’ by Jessica Stillman / Inc Magazine
“Non-time is basically a fancy word for quiet alone time when you are insulated from the world’s noise and demands.”
What I’m watching
“The most audacious thing I could possibly state in this day and age is that life is worth living. It’s worth being bashed against. It’s worth getting scarred by. It’s worth pouring yourself over every one of its coals.” — Jeff Buckley
What I’m training
Here’s a five-exercise calisthenics workout to try next time you need a fun, efficient workout. All you need is a pull-up bar!
Three new workouts
12-Minute Jump Rope HIIT Workout (12 minute, jump rope)
Apartment-Friendly Leg Day HIIT Workout (12 minute, equipment-free)
270 Rep Medicine Ball Challenge Workout (Time challenge, medicine ball)
You can get these and all future workouts right in the 12 Minute Athlete app when you subscribe as a Super Athlete.