When is the last time you took a real rest day? I’m talkin’ no agenda, no training, no trips. You woke up, and spent the rest of the day within a half mile of your bed. There may have been some whisky-spiked coffee involved. Mine usually include long socks and napping with pups. You know – a real, bonafide rest day.
Rest days seem pretty hard to come by.
I find that outdoorsy people (climbers, I’m looking at you) seem to struggle with the idea of taking rest days. We’re always on, always planning, and constantly feeling like we need to maximize every opportunity to be out on an adventure. It’s a travesty to spend a sunny Saturday afternoon not on a trail or halfway up a cliff. But why?
We need rest days, whether we want them or not. Just ask Splitter Choss, who once wrote a post in praise of the rest day, or the experts at Rock & Ice, who will tell you that incorporating regular rest days into your routine is essential for training and recovery. When your life revolves around the pursuit of the outdoors, you need to give your body time to catch up. We can’t always been sprinting, traversing, trekking, and running circuits.
Today, I’m supposed to be hiking out in the mountains. Instead, I’m curled up in bed with some iced tea, a pile of writing, and maybe even a new book. And I’m okay with that. My body woke up this morning and I was like, “lets go!” and it was all, “naaaaah.” – so I’m giving myself a rest day. At first, I felt pangs of guilt for wasting a perfectly fine day of getting outside. But the more I resign myself to my decision, the more relaxing it becomes. I’m not going to put on pants today.
Go ahead, you know you want one too.
You’ve earned it. You’ve spent all week working hard in the office, training hard at the rock gym, getting out on trail runs after meetings, and pushing yourself to become a better adventurer. A day of leisurely nothingness is exactly what the doctor ordered. Make a pot of tea, bury yourself in a sea of blankets, and shamelessly say “yes please!” when your housemate offers you another cookie.
Tomorrow we’ll go back to crimping hard, pushing onwards, and meeting deadlines – but today, we rest.