Man SleepingWhat does a “recovery day” mean to you? Before I started dealing with arthritis, I didn’t know what one was. Now they are an integral part of my life and my holistic pain relief treatment plan. A recovery day is when you specifically schedule complete down time after a busy day or a busy week.

Athletes use recovery days to indicate a time when their body will heal and repair from intense training. For people living with chronic pain, it serves much the same purpose. We all need recovery days so that our bodies and minds can heal and repair—and this is truly essential to our survival.

Just a few days ago, I was talking with a client who shared that “all she did was sleep” and that her “energy level was almost non-existent.” As we started to break down her schedule during the week, I saw that she was using the recovery day idea entirely appropriately. She would have a busy day or two, and then follow with a slow paced recovery day. We also looked at all the things her body and mind have been through in the last year—moving homes twice, a major injury, plus managing chronic illness. This meant that a lot of healing was necessary in a more long-term sense as well.

However, understanding the purpose and use of recovery days is only one piece of the puzzle. The other piece is realizing that we don’t have to feel guilty for needing a recovery day now and again. Guilt about taking time to heal can really slow your body’s ability to do exactly that. On one hand you are supporting your body to feel better, while on the other hand you are saying to yourself, “I’m not sure I really deserve this time to recover.” This is called “chaotic vibration.” It’s like putting your foot on the brake and the gas at exactly the same time—and just as destructive for your body as it is for your vehicle!

So I am here to encourage you to look honestly at your calendar, and then really sink into how your body feels physically at this moment. If you need more recovery time, practice scheduling those breaks into your week. If you’re feeling relatively well, then consider giving yourself some preventative down time.

Be as gentle with yourself as you would be with your very best friend in the world. Because no one is more important to you than YOU!