Learn To Rest
Rest is important in training, and in life.
A year ago today, I hit rock bottom. I had quit coaching, disappeared into the woods, and had completely burned out on life.
A year ago I tossed and turned all night, only to get up out of bed and decide that life wasn't worth living. I was done. Thankfully, God was moving His hand and put specific events in my life that prevented me from causing any harm.
Now, I don't share these things to gain pity or sympathy. My mental health has stabilized in the past year, and while I am not always in tip-top shape, I have worked hard to create ways that prevent me from going down that road again.
I share these things because there is much to be learned in rebounding from a sense of being lost, or having no hope. The gift of hindsight is nature's way of allowing us to learn exponentially from our past experiences and prevent similar things from happening. I also will not tell you that I am fine or okay. I still struggle with my mental health just like anyone else who suffers from depression or anxiety. But over the last year, I've learned to find purpose in the some of the mental suffering.
Over the last year, I've listened to Man's Search For Meaning by Viktor Frankl on Audible twice and read the hard copy once. I started wearing real clothes and spending more time out with people I didn't work with on a daily basis. I even went on a date with someone for the first time in over a year and a half.
I listened to/read Frankl's book multiple times because it is not just a remarkable story of how someone overcame the most extreme of circumstances, but for the lens which Frankl viewed his suffering through. Frankl makes note, that
"what man actually needs is not a tensionless state, but rather the struggling and striving for worthwhile goal,"
and that the struggling to find meaning in life can give life meaning in and of itself. Over the last year I've found this to be true as well.
Out of struggle comes strength.
This is true both as a principle of physiology and psychology. Muscles get stronger after they are repeatedly introduced to high forces and tensions. Mental toughness is developed after going through varieties of difficult things (not necessarily physical challenges, mind you).
The other thing, however, that humans also need is rest. Downtime, or time spent away from training, work, social media, etc, is vital to healthy and happy humans. I've written before about finding a hobby, but finding something that isn't training or work is just part of the puzzle. We must learn to rest. To take time off and put the thoughts of these things away.
When we rest we recover, and when we recover we become stronger. The tension is applied, we rest, and we grow stronger as a result.