Let’s talk about the power of rest.
Last year, I saw this original meme floating around the internet…and it made me pretty pissed off, so I edited it.
See, time and time again my clients have done that.
They’ve been physically and emotionally drained for weeks, years, and months and have kept up the pace despite the signs of fatigue…
Meanwhile, everyone around them, including society at large says, “Don’t be a quitter,” or, “Sleep is for losers,” or, “Just push through.”
I can’t tell you how many women have thanked me for giving them “permission” to slow down, to rest, to disengage, to recharge. It’s staggering.
I’m well aware of the power of consistency. I know all about grit. I know what it’s like to push through a big deadline and be a little extra tired.
I know what it’s like to be the family breadwinner or a full-time student on top of a demanding work schedule.
…But do you see the key word here?
It means “completely used up.” Think on that.
I don’t care how busy you are and how many obligations you have…
…You cannot best serve those who you seek to serve when you’re exhausted.
[bctt tweet=”You cannot best serve those who you seek to serve when you’re exhausted.” username=”stupideasypaleo”]
This concept of rest in the face of adversity or challenging times or 10,001 things on your to-do list is not popular.
I’m not saying to tell your boss to take a hike in the middle of a huge project and skip town on a vacation. I’m not saying you need to quit your dreams.
The Power of Rest
But what I am saying is that taking a rest when you’re exhausted will make you stronger, sharper, and recharge your energy emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically.
Choosing to disengage from The Hustle or slow down doesn’t make you a quitter or weak or a loser. It means you’re caring for your body, mind, and spirit.
So if you need permission to slow down, take a nap, disengage, say NO, do some self-care, etc. I’m here to say, “Permission granted.”
Why is rest so powerful?
To quote Tony Schwartz, “You’re not a machine.”
You’re a human being.
So much of your biology is built on cycles and rhythms, ups and downs, ebbs and flows.
Yet, the modern push and siren song of the busy lifestyle requires linear thinking and energy, ups, flows, and endless hustle. (Click hear to listen to The Hustle is Fake, my Harder to Kill Radio episode.)
As a society, it’s making us sick, sucking our energy dry, tossing us aside like withered husks.
We feel hollow, empty, and ironically unable to “get shit done” despite working more hours and doing more things.
Frequent rest, including adequate sleep, is critical to keeping you sharp and enabling you to harness your ability to solve problems.
Simply put, when you’re chronically stressed, the figurative blinders appear.
Rest decreases stress and the blinders fall away.
That is the power of rest.
This post originally appeared on my Instagram, and it absolutely. BLEW. UP.
When I emailed it to my newsletter peeps, I got the most replies EVER.
Several people said they sat reading it and cried because it acknowledged how they’re feeling.
Clearly, this Hustle, this exhaustion is being felt by so many.
4 Ways to Disengage
Disengaging from The Hustle, resting more, and choosing what’s essential in life – versus what’s just noise – takes effort and discipline. It’s not something you’re going to master in a weekend.
Recharging your energy – one of my 4 Pillars of Health that’s part of a Harder to Kill Lifestyle – doesn’t automatically mean taking weeks off at a time. Rather, it’s what you do on a regular basis, even for five minutes at a time, that can really add up.
Here are some steps for disengaging and resting more:
1) Examine what’s real about your situation versus what’s a made up expectation or pressure.
For example, it may be real that you have an 18 month old who needs you to love and care for them. However, it may be a made up expectation that you need to wake up at 5 am every morning to exercise when you’ve barely had 5 hours of sleep.
See the difference?
On a related note, get really clear about why you’re doing what you’re doing. What’s the purpose? If you can’t answer it, it’s time to do some soul-searching.
2) Practice saying “no” more often.
One trait often shared by the chronically exhausted is being the “yes” guy or gal.
If you say yes to everything, volunteer for everything, and try to be everything to everyone…you’ll eventually fail. You won’t be effective at what you’re doing.
It’s the worst form of multitasking, and we know from scientific studies – and practical life experience – that multitasking is a myth.
For help determining what’s essential in your life so you can decide what to say no to, read Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown.
3) Take more frequent breaks…
…or make the breaks you do get count.
Obviously, this depends on your work situation, but try to take more frequent breaks. Even if you can get away from your desk for 5 minutes for every 90 to 120 minutes of work, do it.
Take some deep breaths, have a snack, get outside in the sunshine, go for a walk…all ideas of how to recharge.
Sitting reading email or scrolling social media is generally not a way to renew your energy.
At best, it has no effect on your drained battery. At worst, it drains your energy even further.
4) If you’re exhausted, rest.
It sort of goes without saying, but when you’re tired, slow down and rest.
Sleep deprivation and exhaustion can make you as sharp as someone who’s legally drunk – i.e. useless.
You can’t think clearly. Forget being able to solve problems. And please, don’t even try to operate a bulldozer.
If you need someone to remind you, email me and I’ll personally give you tough love followed by a hug.
To Summarize The Power of Rest
- Periods of intense work or stress are not, in and of themselves, bad.
- Frequent rest and disengagement from The Hustle are imperative for being more productive.
- If you feel too busy, it’s time to focus on what’s most essential and put your energy into that.