Take a break before you break

Take a break before you break

Many of us have experienced a stress fracture or stress reaction. This happens when we overuse a particular part of our body usually a bone in our legs. On a cellular level, a stress reaction is just what it sounds like. Your body is reacting to the repeated forces (stress), in this case, of running. Specialized cells are trying to strengthen your bones before they break. The typical prescription is simply to rest. We also see this sort of “warning” in other parts of our bodies like when we strain a muscle, etc. If we don’t heed these warnings, we will end up with a much more severe problem like a broken bone or worse.

This also happens to us emotionally, we react to stress. Each one of us has built up a number of coping mechanisms to react to the stresses in our lives. Sometimes these coping mechanisms are quite effective and healthy like walking away to cool down, running, listening to music, talking with friends, etc. Other times, we end up using unhealthy coping mechanisms like overeating, “going off” on someone, drugs, alcohol, etc.

I want to encourage us to use “rest” as a coping mechanism more frequently in our lives. The pace of life, nowadays, is much faster than it used to be and we don’t take enough time to simply rest. Rest does not have to be sleep, although that is important, it simply means taking a break. Look for ways in your life to take short breaks from the stressors. It might look like simply taking intermittent “quiet time” during the day, a walk break in the middle of the day, a night IN with the family; you decide which is best for you.

But please “take a break before you break”.


Keith Johnston