It’s pretty much everyone’s dream, isn’t it? Someone telling you to rest.
Well, today’s your lucky day, because that someone is me.
I’ve noticed a recent trend amongst the people I know, and amongst the people, I sort-of-know through Instagram posts and Tweets: there seems to be an incessant need to always be busy.
It’s like if we aren’t doing a million and one productive things all at once, if we’re not constantly achieving things, if we’re not living our best lives, we cease to be in any way significant.
I know this because I feel it too.
If I look back at a day where I’ve done what I consider nothing, or at least nothing of consequence, I feel a painful stab of anxiety.
You’re wasting your life, you’re wasting your time, there’s so much work to do, stop being lazy, get out there, make some things happen, do something.
Does that inner narrative sound familiar? If so, you’ve come to the right place.
The first thing to remember is that your body needs rest.
It’s all well and good to try to go at a pace of a million miles an hour every single day, but you’ll find your health, both mental and physical, will eventually suffer from a severe burn-out.
Burn-out is described as a feeling of total exhaustion in both the mind and the body. You can’t even bear to look at a book, a laptop, or any other work-related thing. You feel as though you genuinely cannot do anything. You have zero energy.
Reaching this point can be disastrous, especially if it hits you just before an important deadline, an exam, or time where you need to be switched on.
That’s why it’s so important to stop, take a deep breath, and rest before you reach that point; once you cross the burn-out horizon, recovery can take far longer than the rest you would’ve taken to prevent such a thing.
Rest can take many forms. It’s not just sleeping, or laying down, but doing activities that recharge you, revive you, and relax you.
Rest is sometimes saying no to a social plan and instead, spending some time alone at home.
Rest is deciding not to drag yourself to the gym after a long days work and having a night off.
Rest is being okay with sometimes not doing anything at all for an hour or two, or a day if you have it.
I know what it’s like: taking rest can make us feel guilty, insecure and quite often, anxious. But frame it in this way:
Resting is actually incredibly productive.
Taking some time to get back some mental sanity, have physical rest and slow down is what helps you keep going, and continuing speeding along life’s highway.
Resting sometimes is just as productive as any other activity. Without it, we won’t be able to do the things that will get us to our next goal.
Although, it’s important to note that it can be hard to carve out time to rest for many reasons: responsibilities, family, work or health. But it’s not impossible.
Even finding 30 minutes in a day when it’s all been a bit too much to meditate, watch some awful TV or just lay down with your phone for a while can be all you need.
Just stopping for a few moments can make all the difference.
When planning your week ahead, look for moments or evenings you can set aside to just do you, and book them in. It’s just like taking yourself on a date (I’m very aware of how sad that sounds).
As has been a theme throughout this blog, the key is getting to know yourself; knowing when to stop and when to keep going. Look out for the signs and symptoms of burn-out, and adjust what you’re doing accordingly. Realise when you’re reaching a breaking-point.
For instance, when I stop having time to do basic things to take care of myself (eating, sleeping, drinking water, exercising), I know I need to take my foot off the peddle a little.
Think about it, when doing a marathon, runners don’t try to sprint the entire way. If they did, they’d be out of action by mile one or two. Marathon runners know how to pace themselves, they know when to push through and when to take it easy. They know how to get to that finish line.
In a lot of ways, life is like a marathon; we can’t sprint the entire way. We need to learn how to pace ourselves, when to push through and when to take it easy. We need to know how to get to that finish line.