Rest Without Guilt (And Why You Need It!)

People who claim to require excess sleep are lazy. When I was in my immature mid-twenties, I considered that. In fact, sometimes I actually believed it.

During that time, a friend consistently told me her daughter needed “more sleep than most people.” I, full of energy and ambition, rolled my eyes at what appeared to be motherly coddling. “How is she ever going to work hard when her mother encourages her to sleep as much as she wants?” I thought.

At that age, the sky was my limit, and I could do anything I set my mind to. “Rest? I’ll sleep when I’m dead,” I thought.

These days, in my mid-thirties, I realize how truly ignorant I was. Nowadays, I’m not afraid to admit I periodically indulge in much-needed afternoon naps. Furthermore, I’ve learned to rest guilt-free, which is something I believe most in our country (and world) still have to accept.

I Found Out the Hard Way…

People can’t push themselves to exhaustion. It’s not healthy, and it sure isn’t productive. In fact, it’s completely counterproductive.

Personally, I accomplish more when I take time to rest.

Brene Brown said, “It takes courage to say ‘yes’ to rest and play in a culture where exhaustion is seen as a status symbol.”

That’s sad, isn’t it? But unfortunately, in today’s world, it’s the truth. Some people believe their self-worth lies in their ability to burn the candle at both ends.

Let me tell you right now, that is WRONG, and over the past few years, I’ve worked hard to rid my mind of that lie.

Don’t Waste Your Good

I have a friend who works non-stop. He’s full of skill and knowledge and is a great asset to any team he’s a part of. Given his immense talent, it would be a true loss if he would burnout, if he would waste his good.

I’ve preached the importance of relaxing, but my concern is usually met with his dismissive chuckle. “I’ll be fine,” he assures me.

Soon after one of my warnings, he told me he stayed up to the wee hours of the morning working on a project only to wake the next day finding his efforts full of mistakes forcing him to re-do everything, which doubled his time and stress.

See what I mean?

Had he gone to bed at a decent hour or just simply spent some time relaxing, he would’ve decreased his workload and stress-level and increased his positive attitude.

While it may appear to be “admirable” to some, exhaustive working inevitably causes more work and negatively impacts your life in other ways.

Overworking Affects the Ones You Love

I can attest to this. I worked constantly during the first ten years of my marriage. (I’m now separated…)

Most evenings, I would sit on the couch with my laptop. My fingers plunking away on the keyboard while my husband fell asleep in the adjacent recliner.

I thought I was being productive…

Later, when our marriage fell apart, he told me how that aggravated him. And honestly, my working late those nights didn’t help me accomplish anything except being tired, having a bad attitude, and paving the way to a failed marriage. (That wasn’t the only thing that led to our marital demise, but it sure didn’t help.)

Ambition Without Balance is a Sinking Ship

It’s awesome we want to accomplish great things, but we’re not superhuman. We need rest. We need downtime. We need us-time. For nothing more than to remember who we are and why we work.

We need time for reflection to retain the vision and passion we have for our goals.

Answer these questions thoughtfully, honestly, and one at a time:

  1. What is one of your main life goals?
  2. When you think of this goal, does it make you happy?
  3. When you think of this goal, does it make you feel energized?
  4. Do you have the desire to get up and work on that goal right now?

If you answered “no” to questions two through four, do yourself a favor – take a break.

Even the most admirable goals require an equal amount of rest for optimal completion. Otherwise, you’re going to find your wheels spinning and your enthusiasm gone.

17 Suggestions for You-Time

What is something fun you enjoy doing but “never have time” to do????……..Now…. Take a break, and go do it. Guilt-free.

  1. Take a walk
  2. Read a book
  3. Watch a movie
  4. Play fetch with your dog
  5. Work on a craft
  6. Take a nap
  7. Try a new recipe
  8. Sit on a porch swing
  9. Walk barefoot in the grass
  10. Plan a vacation
  11. Catch up with an old friend
  12. Get a massage
  13. Go for a drive and explore
  14. Reflect on your blessings
  15. Binge-watch Netflix (within reason!)
  16. Relax with a bubble bath
  17. Visit a museum

Life is too short to constantly stress or to work on a project you’ve lost passion for. Taking time to rejuvenate your spirit is not being lazy. In fact, it will only give your work, goals, and overall life more positive momentum.

About the author

Hi! I'm Dorothy! First off, thank you for visiting Life's A Dance! Secondly, you're reading this to find out more about me, so.... Long story short: I grew up on a cattle operation in the mountains of western Virginia, where I still live today. I enjoy Clogging, teaching at my dance studio, reading, writing, traveling, trying to be artistic, and finding new and improved ways to work while still enjoying this wonderful blessing we've been given - life. I'm a dreamer and an outside-the-box thinker that lives life slightly differently than most and is not a fan of conventionalism. I believe in living out loud, stopping to smell the roses, loyalty to family and friends, and being grateful to look up at a beautiful, blue sky.

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