I'm sure you've heard someone say "I'll sleep when I die!" I can almost guarantee that same person was totally burnt out the following week. We're so conditioned to work constantly to reach our full potential, and no money is enough, and money buys happiness. What we need to focus on is the repercussions of overworking, the benefits of restorative rest and how to take breaks without the guilt. Let's dive a little deeper.
Did you know that only 4 countries including the US have no statutory maximum length of the work week. And the U.S. is the only industrialized country in the world that has no legally mandated annual leave. Of course bosses are perfectly fine with you taking zero leave for sick, vacation or mental health days. As if that's not depressing enough, in EVERY SINGLE industrialized country, employees are legally guaranteed an average of 20 paid vacation days, some up to 30, and the US??...NOPE! We're the only economy that does not guarantee its workers paid vacations and holidays. (stats acquired from other resources)
Impact of overworking yourself
If you love work and your job, which I personally do, I'm not telling you to quit or to work less hours. More often than not when meeting someone for the first time what do they ask? "What do you do for a living" It's so much of our identity which makes sense because it's what we spend the most time each week doing. You just have to make sure what you're claiming as a big part of your identity isn't killing you physically and mentally. Stress is the #1 cause of health problems and what's probably causing you the most stress on the daily? Work! And what's left for our loved ones at the end of a bad overworked day? Fatigue, Irritability, depression, and more. What we need to remember is Rest Is Productive work too.
Why do we need rest?
Why do we sleep every night? So our brain and body can rest and recharge, it's essential in recovery. Lack of rest can lead to poor brain memory and our ability to reason as well as impact our blood pressure, weight and overall health and wellness. So why when we're overworked, stressed, irritable, creeping in depression or decreasing in focus during the day do we not think to rest for a moment? All of these are counterproductive to being the best at your job anyways, and no 3rd cup of espresso is going to equal giving yourself a moment to rest. So put down your coffee and let's talk about some ways you can rest (without the guilt!) so you can stress less and live a higher quality of life.
Fitting in restorative rest
We're pretty much used to feeling guilty for taking breaks. This includes you full time moms! Most of us will be worried about what we have to get done still while we're trying to take a break. It's something you'll have to train yourself to work into your day just like any other habit. Now, I'm not suggesting you'll be able to take a nap in the middle of work but there are a few things you could do to fit rest in.
Just start with 5 minutes a day. Choose a convenient time for you and set a timer for 5 minutes. Take this time to rest however feels comfortable to you, listening to soft music laying down, closing your eyes and meditating, whatever feels best.
2. Use Affirmations
As I mentioned before, we're trained to feel guilty about taking breaks. Using positive affirmations can help ease that feeling. Try saying things daily like "To be my best self, rest is necessary."
Resting does not mean checking social media. It's proven that likes on Instagram give you a dopamine hit. Well imagine the affect on your mental health when you received no likes. Often a feeling of unliked and worry which is not the place you need your head in when trying to relax. Get off social media, that doesn't count as rest.
4. Set specific activities
Do you feel revived after yoga? Like a new person after a long walk outside? Then schedule those into your week/day as part of your restorative rest.
5. Get enough sleep
Okay duh, the real rest. I know it's not a break during the day but getting a enough sleep makes a huge difference for the following day.
So let's focus on changing our mindset from "I'll sleep when I'm dead" to a healthy relationship with resorative rest. And if you need a daily reminder to tell you, check out my Rest Is Productive art print and sticker!
Rest is Productive Art Print
Rest is Productive Sticker