It’s been a weird week y’all! If you follow me on Instagram, you know that my grandpa was hospitalized earlier this week and given a very slim chance of making it…. BUT, thank god that old guy is an ox and manifested a miracle—he recovered.
As a result of the past week, I am dealing with A LOT of emotions. I fluctuated between shock, anger, sadness, grief, hope, excitement… I went through it all. And, I need to create space to let that shit go.
So when I got back into town on Friday I took the day off. My inner critic screamed at me because I’d already taken off so much time from work to be with family; however, in my gut I knew that I needed a day to rest. I needed to take time to process and allow my spirit to heal from all the shit I’d just gone through.
There was no use feeling guilty about this decision because it was what I needed, and I likely wouldn’t have been productive at work anyway. So, I pushed aside my laptop, left my phone on the charger, grabbed a book and laid on the couch to read. Later on I meditated, then I watched a couple movies, took a long nap, sat outside, went for a couple walks, ordered take out all day…. I didn’t do anything of the things that my ego thought I “should” do. And because of this… I feel recharged. I feel good. I feel more at peace, and more abundant.
Rest is Productive
So today I want to talk about why resting is critical to success. Because lately, at least in the US, things are starting to resume to a new normal since everything happened with Covid. As a result, the workdays are picking back up, social calendars are booking out, and our external commitments are starting to rise. BUT, before we jump back into this new normal, let’s not forget the lessons that this pandemic has taught us—or at least me. The most critical piece of this is that rest is productive.
A lot of career driven women, especially early on, make the mistake of brushing off downtime. It’s like there is this unspoken rule that to be successful you can’t have time to slow down and recharge, but I call bullshit on this. We have so much technology now to make us more productive so we can afford to take time to rest, and instead we use the extra time to be HYPER productive. It’s not sustainable.
Rest is often associated with laziness in our society—or the absence of work. No, change the narrative. Rest is the power source of your BEST work.
From a manifestation perspective... how can you manifest a life that is freer and provides more time for rest if you don’t have it now? If you can’t even make space for stillness within your current lifestyle? When we’re this busy, we’re on the verge of burnout—if not already there. How is that energy helping you create a life of abundance?
We love to lie to ourselves and say, “when I ‘make it’, I’ll slow down and take more time to relax. Until then, I just have to hustle and grind!”. No babe. If you’re not building in these habits now, you won’t have them later. And, you can’t manifest what you’re not a match for. A hyper productive hustle mindset does not manifest a life of contentment and pleasure. It manifests more productivity and more things to do—because THAT is your energy. By all means, work hard, but make intentional time for rest. Allow yourself to step off the hamster wheel and take a break. Otherwise, you will get burned out.
I hate to break it to y’all, actually I love breaking it to you, but burn out is the result of a scarcity mindset. You get burnt out when you believe that there isn’t enough time, money, or success in some area of your life. Your solution is to work to the point of burnout. Because if you were coming from a place of abundance, you would intuitively know that there is plenty of time. You are and have enough as it is. And, you are able to accept more.
In addition to being the habit of a scarcity mindset, disregarding downtime and calling it ‘a waste of time’ is also a symptom of perfectionism, lack of boundaries, lack of self-worth, or a combination of these symptoms. These things have a tendency to overlap.
I know these symptoms well because I had all of them. So, allow me to save you a few years of therapy on the matter....
My “Busyness” Was a Shield
I had to be busy. I had to be in every organization, on every board, at every social event, and if I had a night off? What could I do in its place…The main reason I kept up such a busy schedule, personal, was that it allowed me to justify my failures when I didn’t do well. “Oh, I know it was bad…. I didn’t have enough time because of these other ten million things I was doing”. And when I did do well? Man.... JUST IMAGINE if I’d had more time... right? It could have been so much better….
A hectic schedule can be both protection from shame when things go wrong and an ego boost when they go right. If I allowed myself to rest, there would be a critical flaw in my performance. I couldn’t allow rest because it was my excuse if I performed badly.
If I had time to rest... I had time to do better at XYZ. AND, I ALWAYS had to do better because I didn’t feel worthy or valuable on my own.
Not allowing myself to rest also enabled my anxiety and my perfectionism—which are pretty much the same thing. As an example, when I procrastinated too much because of my anxiety, I just blamed my busy schedule so that I didn’t have to ask myself why I was anxious. When I started chronically procrastinating, my schedule became my shield when other people started noticing. Like, “everyone will know that my busy schedule is the only reason why I procrastinated so much on this other thing”. So why would I allow myself to rest if it would take away my shield? If I had time to rest…. I had time to avoid procrastination and all the emotional baggage that caused me to procrastinate in the first place—right?
If I allowed myself to rest.... what was waiting for me there? What ugly emotions waited for me when I finally had time to address them. When you have a habit of suppressing emotions, you feel the need to stay busy as a distraction. You might think that if you stop to reflect on the shit you haven’t dealt with, you might not ever STOP resting. That’s when I start to hear the excuse “but if I stop to rest I’ll lose my motivation”. If this is you… then maybe you’re not motivated by the right thing to begin with? The most aligned thing for you? And maybe THAT is what you don’t want to deal with.
When I didn’t allow myself to rest, I laughed about not having time as I crammed in more. Family would ask things like, “Do you ever stop!?” and I’d reply with something like, “Only when I’m dead! Rest is for the weary!”. My hyper productivity was like a badge of honor that I wore proudly. I am so busy; therefore, I look important, therefore I look successful; therefore, I appear worthy...but I didn’t really believe any of these things. It was a façade that I kept up. And, it led to crippling Imposter Syndrome.
If I stopped to rest, everyone would know I was a fraud and all the plates would fall... If I stopped to rest, I wouldn’t have any excuses. If I stopped to rest, I would have to face the uncomfortable and the vulnerable sides of me that I’d suppressed.
Becoming Intentional About Downtime
But here’s the thing... when you stop to rest, you’re at your most creative. You enjoy pleasure more. Things like food, fun and sex become more enjoyable. When you stop to rest, your memory improves—in fact all of your cognitive abilities improve. When you make this a habit, you also find what is important to you. Things become more clear. You also make time to gain clarity on past traumas. You create space for new passions. You’re happier, less stressed, more connected.
Statistics show that you ARE MORE PRODUCTIVE after you’ve taken time to rest; to rest your brain, your body, your critical thinking skills. And, studies show that if two people are given the same project and one person takes time to rest while the other powers through… the person who rested usually achieves better results in the same time frame WITH less cortisol. Rest is productive.
Rest allows you to become the best version of you. So, do not tell me that rest is not productive. Instead, ask why rest makes you feel uncomfortable or even vulnerable.
Knowing everything we covered in today’s post, why would anyone brag about NOT having time for rest?
So, I’m taking the opportunity to rest more this week. I hope you honor your own need for rest and do the same.
Here are a few actionable tips to implement this week to help you be more mindful about rest:
1. Time block when you’re going to recharge
2. Decide what kind of rest you need and tailor the “type” of rest—creative, physical, mental, emotional, etc.
3. Hold your boundary and do not allow others to schedule over your resting periods
4. Track how many social events and work meetings/calls you can have before you feel drained. Use this limit to manage your work week better.
Have a fantastic rest of your week, and I will catch y’all next Monday. Until then, go out there and manifest some miracles.
Check out this discussion on the podcast: