Monday, October 1, 2012

The Woes of Doing TOO Much

I am the friend who tries to transform every hangout into a yoga session, lake jog, or gym date. What can I say I love to exercise, and not purely for the vanity (although it’s always a plus) but because my entire day feels better when I move my limbs and release some sweat. I even sleep better. Yet, as of today it has been 6 days since I have done any form of intentional exercise.

So how does a gym rat turn into a couch slug? Three words:  DOING TOO MUCH

Two weekends ago I traveled out of state, and the first thing I did upon arriving home at 12 am was write a blog about the trip. Bright and early the next morning I went straight to work teaching a classroom full of 30 kids, after I went to my night job and of course I had to squeeze in my daily exercise. The week continued on this way with a steady balance of two jobs, 9 college units, and exercise.  Finally, Friday comes and after a long day with my students the only reward I can think of was the gym- I completed a strenuous exercise and felt great. I went to my favorite vegan macrobiotic restaurant in the Bay to top of my night. While, there I felt a sore throat coming on- a few hours later it was still there, the next day I was congested- and it continued to progress into a full blown cold.  

I should first say I am the last person to get sick- heck I even lived in West Africa for over a year without Malaria meds and didn’t get sick once. My health is usually great. Which was an indicator that my body was telling me to “slow down, your doing too much”. I hear this voice often, yet it is difficult to listen to when I have students who depend on me, classes I strive to excel in, friends I miss, another job on the side, and my sanity: exercise. All of these things are a priority and each of them rest in the number one space of my things to do list- so you see slowing down is almost inconceivable.

What I have learned in my registered dietitian training is that strenuous exercise temporarily represses the immune system. After exercise the bodies systems are focused solely on recovery, rebuilding, and repair. Hence why I became sick. I was working non-stop on as little as 6 hours of sleep. Although, I eat healthy, overworking myself limited my bodies ability to recover. In addition, I’ve learned that our bodies recover while at rest. Thus, if we don’t allot time for rest then there is little space for repair and recovery to occur.

With this new information I spent the entire week taking it easy and logging in more sleep time. I spent this Friday with my students and rather than going to the gym after I decided to go home take a hot shower, kick back with a fresh green smoothie and my favorite magazine. 

I plan to slowly jump back into my exercise routine all the while listening to my inner voice telling me when enough is enough.  In an effort to preserve my sanity and health I refuse to do too much. 

How do you achieve balance in your life? 


  1. I LOVE THIS! recently I have realized that balance is key too ! I work so hard during the week Monday through Friday I work 10 hour days, so on the weekends I always want to go out or do something because I feel like I never have the time to. I used to always do something every weekend because I thought that if I didn’t I’d be wasting the weekend. After a while it began taking a toll on my body and I had to step back and say hey ! its okay to spend the weekend relaxing, you don’t always have to do something ! So yes balance is definitely key to life!

  2. Hi Eryn,

    Thank you for your comment. Your schedule sounds a lot like mine I am glad you listened to yourself and took a "step back" to make time for you. It really makes a difference in our overall wellness and even work performance. Hope you continue to maintain balance in your life. Do keep reading as I will continue to add similar post.