5 ways to Make the Most Out of your Rest Day
"Many people suffer from the fear of finding oneself alone, and so they don't find themselves at all." -Rollo May
Did you ever think you would become so passionate about a sport that you would want to do it all day, every day?
The funny thing about climbers like us is that we actually find it difficult to take rest days, especially when we are on a climbing road trip.
Climbing is so stimulating that we can find ourselves bored when we are not doing it.
There is no doubt that the mind and body like to do, do, do!
We should be called Human-Doings, instead of Human-Beings, since it seems so challenging for us to just be these days.
But there is magic in Being.
I want you to know how important the days that you don’t climb are.
Rest days are vital for the body to recover and adapt, we know this, but days off from climbing are also the time to evolve other dimensions of your life.
You want to be multi-dimensional, right?
Then you will need to focus on your days off, to.
Don’t know what to focus on?
One of the Universal Truths is, “Know Thyself”. Why?
Because taking the time to listen to what’s going on inside yourself, to recognize lessons from the past, and to find out where your heart lies and live from that leads you to the best life for you.
Knowing yourself inside and out is a big step toward aligning yourself with your purpose in this lifetime.
Road trips let you be physically and mentally blissed out from climbing while being surrounded by a stunning natural environment, which is an ideal combo for self-reflection.
Climbing road trips are amazing opportunities to climb all the time, of course, but they also provide amazing opportunities to discover other aspects of your Self – if you take the time to do it.
If climbing is the Yang, rest days are Yin.
But like anything, if you don’t practice introspection, you won’t get the outcome you are looking for.
So climb, and climb lots, but think again about your rest days.
“Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom.
Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power”
–Tao Te Ching
Here are 5 ways to use your rest days to help get you closer to Your Path.
#1. Find solitude.
Being social is wonderful, and there is so much to be said about being with your friends. But it is the time we spend alone that allows us to explore deep down the rabbit hole of our thoughts.
Finding a place of beauty and hanging out alone can be super inspiring.
If you’ve got a vehicle, take a drive to an uninterrupted corner of the world and hang out. Do whatever it is you want to do there, but keep it quiet.
No talking, just being.
Light some incense if you’d like, and chill out.
We spend so much of our life engaged with other people and things that we end up neglecting ourselves. Find some solitude and be with yourself. Practice this.
#2. Make a healthy meal.
Schedule your rest day around making a big healthy meal. It doesn’t have to be extravagant, just get some fresh ingredients and make it happen.
Not only will this help you create good eating habits, it will help your body recover nicely for your next climbing session. It can also be fun to cook and a share a meal with friends.
A “good meal” is defined by its nutrient value. That is what health benefit it gives you. Ideally, you want each ingredient to give you something healthy in return.
What we want in a “good meal” is loads of fresh veggies (greens, onions, garlic, any veg will do), healthy fats (avocado, coconut or sesame oil is a good choice), and a complete protein (like quinoa and hemp).
I would recommend something like a quinoa and veggie stir fry. Anyone can make it, even on the road, and it is exactly what your body is looking for to feel it’s best.
Eating good food supports your mind, body and goals.
#3. Listen to a podcast while you clean out your car or go for a walk.
I became a BIG fan of podcasts in the last couple of years. There is a podcast for just about everything, and some of them are super interesting and informative.
On extended road trips it is good to think about something other than climbing, and a podcast is a great way to do that.
Go on iTunes and browse in the podcast section for a topic that interests you.
Of course there are climbing podcasts, but there are other great ones as well. I would recommend The TED Radio Hour for sure, it is amazing. I also love the Rich Roll Podcast, he’s a past alcoholic and now a plant based endurance athlete who interviews all sorts of amazing people (check out his interview with Conrad Anker), The Goodlife Project with Johnathan Fields is good, What It Takes is good, The Joe Rogan Experience is good… and so on.
Get a bunch of these episodes on your device (for free) and put them on while you log miles on the road, clean out your car or go for a walk. It will stimulate your mind and spark new ideas.
Keep your education going!
#4. Read a book.
Cliché? But it’s not! Because hardly anyone has “time” for books, or even wants to read them. This is a shame to me, because there is something to be said about a good book.
Whether from podcasts or books, the inspiration from someone else’s life story is an empowering tool.
“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies.
The person who never reads lives only one.”
If you haven’t read a book since the mandatory reading in school, start with a CLIMBING RELATED book, there are plenty of them out there. Head to a used bookstore on your next rest day and check out the mountaineering section. Get one that catches your eye.
Reading is critical to working your brain and making you smarter (and a more interesting belay partner).
I can’t say enough good things about books!
5#. Stretch and relax.
If you are obsessed with climbing, you will find that some yoga-inspired stretching will add some subtle yet super valuable skills to your movement on the rock.
Don’t worry if you don’t know how to stretch, because following along online has never been easier with sites like www.doyogawithme.com.
Following a yoga practice will not only limber you up, it will make you a more efficient climber.
What is that most common piece of advice you hear while climbing?
Knowing how to move with your breath, in fact allowing your breath to initiate your movement will do wonders for your climbing. And your improved flexibility and body awareness will add grace to your flow.
So don’t dread your next rest day, embrace it because it is a vast opportunity for universal knowledge.
For rest is not idleness, and to lie on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.
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