The Blessing and the Curse of Downtime


I rarely get injured. I’ve only experienced two somewhat significant injuries — a sprained wrist from falling on a skating jump and a fractured femur from a skiing crash. And both times I nearly went nuts from the lack of physical activity. I never really feel quite right without nearly daily exercise or sports. It’s not a weight thing or an issues avoidance thing, it’s just that I truly enjoy being physically active. I love those endorphins!

So I was pretty annoyed when earlier this week, I somehow strained my neck — quite badly. I don’t know if it was the 6:30 am, four-hour conference call that I sat on my couch for (don’t ask), if I slept wrong, if I did something at the gym, or if it was simply stress manifesting as an injury. Whatever the reason, soon enough I couldn’t move my head in any direction and the pain was radiating down my shoulders and upper back. Thinking I was just stiff, I tried to loosen things up on the elliptical machine and do some gentle stretches. Nope, bad idea — only made it worse.

A trip to the doctor confirmed it was just a severely strained neck and not a deadly form of meningitis, as my overactive imagination had somehow conjured. Prescription: rest, ice, lots of Advil and muscle relaxers.

That was nearly four days ago and while it’s sloooowly getting better, I still can’t turn my head more than an inch to the right without yelling “owww!”

Aside from the annoying pain, what’s really bugging me is how much I’m bothered by not being able to do my regular fitness routine. I’ve had to cancel two tennis matches, gave up a new yoga class that I was excited to try, and couldn’t do a beach hike with my friend’s dog that I’m dog sitting. This all seriously bummed me out. “Weekend ruined,” I told myself.

But why is this? Have I become so unbalanced that I can’t enjoy other activities that don’t involve sweating profusely? I sure hope not. This minor injury and the resulting downtime have been a little hint that perhaps I need to chill out, take a break and embrace this mandatory slower pace to do other things, if only temporarily.

Now, it’s Sunday and although I had to bow out of my morning tennis match, I was able to take an easy walk with my husband and the dogs to go get coffee, and do a little light weeding in the garden, which was really relaxing. I’ve had extra time to work on this blog, and this afternoon I’m planning to whip up a Sunday dinner that I normally may not have had time to make.

I’m sure I’ll be back to normal very soon, but I plan to remember the lessons of these past few days; that balance is important, that sometimes a slower pace should be embraced … aaaand that neck pain associated with meningitis is usually accompanied by flu-like symptoms, a high fever and a severe headache.

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Chrissy Trampedach
Chrissy Trampedach is a PR & communications pro by day and fitness buff, skiing fanatic, dedicated yogi and wannabe tennis champ by night (and weekend). As a former competitive figure skater, she’s lived a life of training and sports from a young age. Today, she fuels her competitive spirit and drive to challenge her body and mind with USTA tennis, skiing adventures around the world, the SF yoga community and tracking the latest fitness trends. She lives in San Francisco with her husband Tim and their “75-lb lap dog” Enzo.

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