One thing I have learned over the years is when to push myself and when to be kind to myself when it comes to physical activity. I used to work out "no matter what." I set goals and "had to achieve them."
Years ago, I had decided to run a 10 k but a few weeks into the training I re-injured a bad ankle. Instead of giving the ankle the rest it demanded and needed, I started using massive amounts of Ibuprofen and just worked through the pain. I was left with a seriously injured ankle and weeks of no weight bearing activity. Unfortunately, there have been many more examples like this over the years...
However, a few months ago I noticed that I am much nicer to myself these days! If my ankle doesn't feel good (the numerous injuries it sustained have unfortunately never completely healed), I give it a day off and focus on upper body work and stretching. If I am very tired because I was up with the baby (now toddler) all night, I go for a brisk walk rather than dragging myself to the gym and suffering through a workout.
Yesterday I went to the gym, but I didn't feel well. I took it easy by doing some weights, stretching, ab work and 20 minutes of cardio. I would have never done this a couple years ago but pushed through my regular routine. After I got home from the gym, my throat started hurting. I was glad that I hadn't pushed myself too hard earlier in the day so that I could make it through the rest of the day.
I am glad that I have finally learned to be kind to myself!