Slowing Down Speeds It Up

Sometimes we only need more of sobriety in different forms.

Photo by Jared Rice on Unsplash

What’s the worst thing, that can happen to you, when you’re trying to get or stay in shape? What’s the worst thing for your fitness or your plans for the gym? What’s the worst thing for your body while practicing or preparing for a competition or big game?

Right, getting sick. A simple cold can destroy your exercise plans and even take you out for weeks. Your endurance suffers and you won’t be at your best. You need to do the one thing that you hate to do: You need to rest.

There are several forms of physical sickness that can force you to rest. One of them is a migraine attack. Migraine is a form of headache that everyone who suffers from it, experiences differently. Migraine consists of one-sided mostly pulsating pain in the head, accompanied by an extreme sensitivity to light and sound. Nausea might appear, as well as vomiting and neurological symptoms. And the trigger factors for a migraine attack are equally divers. For some people it is stress, changes in the sleeping pattern, the weather or food. Further, hormonal changes and an overstimulation of the brain can cause migraine attacks.

Whoever suffers from migraine — like I do — probably knows his or her trigger factors. And we all know, they can’t always be avoided. I can’t tell how often a migraine attack forced me to rest, forced me to miss practice, caused me to underperform, even though I tried to avoid my trigger factors. Still, migraine attacks are reducible — with medication and lifestyle changes.

For me (and I guess for most migraine patients) avoiding attacks means a certain level of sobriety. Alcohol is probably causing the most of my attacks. I can enjoy a beer or a glass of wine, when I’m having a nice evening, when I feel overall relaxed. As soon as I start drinking when I’m tired or stressed or having a rough week, I get headaches. Of course, as soon as I drink too much (which means more than two beers) I get headaches as well. So, most parties I attain, I stay sober.

Another big trigger for my migraine is stress in all forms. Being it emotional stress, stress at work or an overstimulation. I learned to handle emotional stress and stress at work, but overstimulation is something that gets me from time to time. And how could it be otherwise in our modern world?

Nowadays there is a gush of news and information rushing trough our smartphones. Being it social media feeds full of noisy but useless videos or articles on the internet, especially recommended for us. Articles with headlines begging for our attention. Just think of how often you’re scrolling through your phone reading something, while someone is talking to you, the TV is blaring in the back and the food on the stove requires your attention too.

There are days, which are like this. That’s bad enough. But the worst part of this, is how often this is now viewed as “normal”. No time to cook and eat? No problem just by this drink and you’ll have your lunch. Scared of missing out on important news? (Which is almost impossible. The only thing we could be missing out on is stupid videos or useless information.) No problem, just get this app and that app and receive it all on your phone.

Instead of being reminded that it’s necessary to unwind, to enjoy solitude and to slow down and that there is nothing wrong with not knowing anything immediately, the media and the advertisements which torture us, tell us to get more and more and more.

But I’ve learned that I can’t participate in that game of overstimulation without suffering from migraine attacks. And because of that, I’ve learned to be grateful for this awful headache in some way. Migraine attacks are a sort of warning, that I’m off balance in some capacity. They tell me to rest, to do something differently.

We may hate it, when that happens, when our bodies send us stop signs and force us to rest. But we should learn to appreciate them and listen to them. Being healthy and being fit requires more than practicing in the gym. We need to learn how to listen to our bodies and how to maintain a certain level of sobriety in our minds, if we want long-lasting health and fitness.

In the end, ignoring stop signs of the body will only make things worse.

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