Rest: Take time to Slow Down
When I look back on my life; its divided into sections of the goals I was trying to achieve. In primary school I was working towards getting a good grade so that I can go to a good high school, in high school I was working towards getting good grades so that I could get into a good university and in University I was working towards getting a good job. Every point in my life has been working towards a goal or a vision. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with working towards a goal, I actually think they’re very important but when do we stop for a minute and enjoy the journey? When do we look around and appreciate all that we’ve done?
I know you’re probably getting tired of me mentioning it but when we started self-isolation, I took it as an invitation to crank up my productivity; do online courses, write pieces for my blog, work my 9-5. It was a lot but I was determined. I threw myself into achieving and striving. It was going well until it wasn’t, I was so exhausted, I wasn’t able to do bare minimum tasks, my creativity was at nil and I was not motivated to do anything. So I took time off, I rested and when I felt recharged, I came back to work. I kicked things back into maximum over drive; I was working long hours, doing high intensity exercises every day with close to no human interaction outside of my family. Ignoring every sign my body sent me, nudging me that it was time to rest. I kept putting it off claiming that I would rest the next day. And then I crashed again; zero motivation, zero creativity, no direction and the desire to do nothing at all but sleep all day.
We live in a fast paced world, everything moves so fast; ideas are generated, companies are formed, apps are launched, deals are signed all before you have lunch. It seems with any technology update, we unlock a new level of hustle. Push. PUSH. PUSH. Rest is painted as a luxury, in fact sometimes resting can almost seem like you don’t want whatever you are working towards enough. The truth is I speak a lot about resting, I have a placard that I can pull out easily to remind people to rest but I feel incredibly guilty when I take the time out to rest. I feel like I’m not working hard enough or that I’ll be left behind.
Recently, I shared this sentiment with my brother and he calmly asked why I continued to exist within the algorithm of: burning myself out is the only way I could achieve results. Suddenly, everything I had ever heard about rest started rushing in; how when working out rest is required for muscles to repair themselves, rest helps the mind with assimilating information, my music teacher told me my voice sounded better after I took some time out to rest.
Rest: (Noun) A piece of mind or spirit. I like to think of rest as the act of loosening my grip so that I am not constantly wound up. When we rest we are inviting balance into our lives.
What self-isolation has taught me is the importance of honoring rest. The importance of slowing down and allowing myself to take off the pressure of striving. The need to put aside the hustle for a while and sit with myself. I’ve come to learn that my hesitation to rest is fueled by being discontent with my work situation, I’ve been putting in extra hours so that I can move into a career that is more aligned with my vision. I keep telling myself that I will not rest until I am working my purpose, which is another issue, I’m so focused on the result that I forget to embrace the journey.
The past couple of weeks, I have needed to be strict with myself so I decided to take one day out of my week where I do not think about work, restrict my time on Social Media and simply enjoy the perks of being a human being. During the week, I set a strict timer for when I am available to do work and got serious with my sleeping schedule. I won’t lie when the idea to take one day out of the week or rest first came to me, I wondered what I would do all day but there is a lot to do. I try to flow from moment to moment without the need to plan what I will be doing. I simply go along with what I feel I want to do in the moment.
Here are some lessons I have learnt from taking the time to rest;
I’m learning that in rest we find restoration. We are able to recharge our batteries and re-infuse our inner light and essence. With rest, I feel like I have an identity outside of the work I do.
Rest is also an act of faith. When we take time to rest we’re saying that what we trust what we have done is enough. I keep affirming to myself that what is for me will not pass me.
When we allow ourselves to rest, we can take a step back and appreciate what we’ve done, to analyze if we’re moving in the right direction.
Rest allows us to look clearly to see if we’re happy, if our current path brings us joy.
It has also forced me to be more productive. When I have a lot of time to myself, I tend to waste it because I know that I will find more time to do tasks. With set working hours, I know that I need to get stuff done. I’ve learnt to spend my time wisely.
With taking more time to rest, I have also been able to create more time for my relationships because I’m not always in work mode.
I hope you take the time out to rest. You don’t have to start with a whole day, you can start with getting enough sleep at night.