For an athlete, rest and recovery is as important as working out.
It’s a fact of life that everything happens in seasons. The year is broken down into spring, summer, autumn, and winter. But there is also awards season, football season, bikini season, the holiday season, and of course workout season.
One could argue that workout season happens year round, but we all know the truth. During the spring and summer months we are highly motivated athletes. During the winter we just want to curl into a ball of butter on the floor.
That being said, I think its equally as important for athletes to take an off season, as it is for normal people.
I am not giving you carte blanche to completely forego any type of physical exercise during the winter. But I am saying that it is a great time to focus on other ways of keeping yourself healthy. Whether you are an athlete or just someone who values your bikini bod, your fitness level is only one component of your overall health.
READ MORE: Winter Workouts that Burn a Ton of Calories
If you take the ‘off season’ to focus on other areas, like mental health, you will be happier for it in the long run.
Here are a few suggestions of what to do in the off season.
Rest and Recoup. This one may seem pretty obvious, but by ‘rest and recoup’, I DO NOT mean sit on the couch all winter and binge watch Netflix. That is certainly part of it, but I mean you should focus on your hobbies that aren’t fitness related. Instead of adhering to a tight schedule, give yourself some leeway to enjoy random experiences.
Spend Quality Time. You’re going to be cooped up for most of the winter anyway, so you might as well find ways to bond with your loved ones. Relationships require maintenance (on every level), so spending the off season reconnecting with people, and forming new memories with them is a worthwhile endeavor.
Meditate and Center. Mental health should always be a priority in your life. There is nothing healthier for your mind than meditation and centering. Yes, its hard. But if you can find a way to connect with yourself and center your mind, you will be much better equipped to handle life’s inevitable curve balls.
Recheck/Order New Equipment. Are you wearing the same old gym shoes for the third year in a row? Do your leggings have so many holes they are starting to look like fishnets? The off season is a great time to sort through all your athletic gear and update anything that is no longer useful or productive.
Plan Motivations/Goals for Next Season. Planning for the future is one great way to spend your down time. You can reflect on what you did or didn’t do throughout the year, and decide what you want to change in the next season.
Taking down time is probably one of the hardest things that athletes have to do. But self-care is very important, especially during winter months when your mind might be spinning in circles. So the next time you start to feel down about not forcing yourself out into a blizzard to hit the gym, consider doing one of these activities instead.