If you are a human in the world today, you’ve been told to hustle, to get more done, to burn the midnight oil. That working your ass off is the path to “success.” And that if you sacrifice now, you’ll be rewarded later.
If you are anything like me, you know exactly where that leads.
Loved ones wondering why you’re working instead of connecting. Forgotten hobbies. An anxious mind and a heavy heart. Burnout and resentment.
And if you are anything like me, that isn’t your definition of success.
You’d rather be engaged in your life, now, not later. Present. There for yourself and those you care about. Able to have some fun and wind down. And grateful.
In order for those things to be true, we must find our own unique balance between work and rest. Being and doing. Giving and receiving.
To inspire you to Take A Break, Breathe, and Rest, here are 3 reasons that resting is the most productive thing to do.
1. You’ll get way more creative ideas. Have you ever noticed that you get great ideas when you are taking a shower, sitting in nature, or driving through the country on a gorgeous day? That happens because your brain has some space to relax. There is less information and stimuli to process, making space for creativity and ideas to flow through. This doesn’t happen when you are swamped with a never ending to do list.
Imagine what it might be like to step back from the daily grind — on purpose — and give yourself some space.
2. You’ll feel better. Rest is one of our Universal Needs, and while sleeping isn’t our only way to rest, it’s been said that you can survive longer without food than without sleep. During sleep, our brain assimilates and integrates our experiences and produces critical hormones for well-being (namely, serotonin).
Think about how you actually feel when you haven’t slept well. You probably feel more irritable and less focused. And focus is essential to being productive.
The better you feel, the more productive you will be.
3. You’ll be more tuned into yourself. One of the reasons we resist rest, besides all of the “shoulds”, is because when we give ourselves space to just be, our shit comes up. All of the emotions we pushed into the corner while we were getting stuff done, start to show up. Instead of feel, and process, those emotions, we reach for distractions, like mindlessly scrolling through Facebook, food, or TV. Often times, we do those things, thinking we are taking a break, only to realize we feel more drained or overwhelmed afterwards.
Being present with our emotions is what creates intimacy with ourselves. It creates self-compassion, understanding, and forgiveness. And from that place, you will be intrinsically motivated to do the things that matter to you instead of a long list of shoulds.
Honestly, I could go on and on about the benefits of rest.
But, for now, I want you to know that I understand what it feels like to have MAJOR resistance to slowing down and resting. It seems to go against the very core of our culture.
I know, first hand, what it is like to keep pushing through and eventually burning out. My body demanded I rest, and, that challenged me in a way I never expected. I had to look at all of the cultural beliefs that were simmering under the surface of my to-do list.
I can’t say that I am perfect. I’ve found that overworking and pushing harder is another way I distract myself from my emotions and I still find myself there from time to time. But, what I know for sure is that by learning to rest and taking a serious breather, I am now more productive and creative than ever.
I also know this:
You don’t have to keep pushing through. You are doing more than enough. You deserve space to breathe.
Rest. You’ll be glad you did.