Recovery Days . . . Absolutely! #BeBrainFit

Emily McGuigan

Some days, I feel energetic and like I can accomplish everything I set out to.

Some days, I wake up and feel like I didn’t even get a chance at having a good day. I have no desire to get out of bed or talk to anyone or study or go to the gym or read or think.

Some days, I just need a break.

And that’s okay.

It took me years to start realizing that it is okay to stay in bed sometimes and it is okay to not accomplish everything I wanted to that day. I am my own biggest critic, so I have always beaten myself up for not being productive enough or for having anxiety and depression that prevents me from wanting to do anything. I had this mentality that told me I didn’t deserve time to do nothing because I still had a long to-do list, or that I needed to make up for my inability to previously get my act together to finish my tasks.

As an athlete, it is crucial to take recovery days throughout the week to heal my body properly for the next workout. If something physically hurts, I immediately figure out a way to treat it, so why wouldn’t I do that for my mind as well? If my mind is hurting, there’s one solution-address it and recover. The way I physically treat my body affects my mental state and vice versa.

Taking these mental recovery days are very rarely convenient for my schedule or my obligations, however, I can’t predict when I’ll be hit with an anxiety attack or depressive episode. Sometimes, it requires me to skip class, take off work, cancel plans, or delay deadlines, which dates back to middle school for me. Missing all that can be stressful because I know I will need to make it up, but it is actually necessary. I need to be in the right headspace to tackle anything, so if that means staying home today so I am feeling better tomorrow, then so be it.

Self-care is a practice that needs to be worked on every day. Any time I feel like life is too much for me to handle at that moment, I drop what I’m doing, put on my fuzzy socks, break out a face mask and make some tea. Then I turn on Netflix, listen to music, or read. I have designated something as simple as fuzzy socks to be my own way of saying, “Hey Em, you need you right now.” Often times, when my friends are feeling down I’ll even get out a pair of fuzzy socks and a face mask for them because I know how it helps me feel better.

When I try to push through my “lows” without tuning into my own emotions or what my mind and body need, I just feel worse and it builds up for the next day and the next. Working through therapy has allowed me to develop a self-care plan of unapologetically taking time for myself. Recovery will be a lifelong battle, but making a list of things that comfort you in the worst of times and using them as management tools can make a world of a difference. At the end of the day, you only get one you, so why not give yourself the TLC you need?

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