In this article, I’m going to talk about something really neat — how you can actually get MORE done by relaxing. When we take breaks and stop pushing ourselves so hard, we feel refreshed and can accomplish more than when we exhaust ourselves. Read more on how to increase your productivity without burning out.
In our busy world, the last thing we do is relax. We’re often busy from the time we wake up till we drop into our beds at night. If we aren’t “doing” something, we’re on our phones or watching TV.
But we’re not really relaxing.
We’re not giving ourselves the real rest that our body needs to recharge and greet the week with enthusiasm.
What if We Did Relax?
Imagine a scenario where every Sunday afternoon, you REALLY relaxed. You took a nap, sat in nature, took a walk in the park, or went to a coffee shop and journaled. How would your life change?
Do you think you’d have more energy?
Would your whole life feel different?
Rest Gives You Energy
We were made to rest. It’s not a sign of weakness. It’s what our body needs so it can recharge and replenish itself.
A sure recipe for disaster is to keep ignoring our body’s signals to rest. But that’s what we do. Every. Single.Day. (Me included!) And then we wonder why we’re depressed, cranky, sick, and unhappy.
But what if we changed our relationship with rest and realized that it actually makes us BETTER at what we do?
Great Leaders Rest
Some of the greatest leaders and creative minds knew the secret power of rest.
Winston Churchill, who was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, took naps while World War II was going on around him.
Sounds crazy, right? Winston Churchill was a busy leader who lived under a time of indescribable challenges and stress. Yet in the afternoon he told his top advisers that he needed a break — to go nap????!!!
I often imagine the guts this took. If it were me, I’d collapse in a heap before admitting that I needed a nap.
Churchill had amazing courage and wisdom. He knew that he had take care of himself (and perhaps face ridicule from his country) so he could have the stamina he needed to make the right decisions for his country.
He knew that when we’re exhausted, we don’t make good decisions. We slow down. He knew he had to be at his peak to help win the war so he did what it took to be at his optimum.
Do Less So You Can Do More
In his book, Rest, Alex Soojung-Kim Pang explains that some of the most creative people in history purposely worked short days so they could rest and be at their peak during the time they did work. He writes “Stephen King describes four to six hours of reading and writing as a ‘strenuous’ day” (p. 66).
Don’t you love that?
Stephen King, the world-famous, prolific author, only works 4 to 6 hours a day, maximum?
Yes! King knew that the secret to success; work and rest go hand-in-hand.
What is Rest?
If you’re convinced now that you need more rest, great! Now let’s redefine what rest means.
As mentioned in the introduction, rest does not mean browsing Facebook or checking out the latest shows on Netflix. It means rejuvenating yourself so that you feel energized and excited when it’s time to work.
Some examples of rejuvenating actives include
- being outdoors
- getting a good night’s sleep
- exercising (I like yoga!)
- deep play (when you’re totally engrossed in an activity)
- going on a retreat (or taking a day off work – even a few hours!)
Yes, it will be hard to fit these activities into your routine. But it’ll be so worth it! My suggestion is to start gradually. Perhaps ask your spouse to watch the kids for half an hour so you can nap on the weekend. Or maybe do your favorite hobby every so often — without feeling guilty!
For a fun win-win solution, take the kids and go for a walk together outdoors. You’ll be bonding with your family, and enjoying the benefits of walking outdoors.
Once you’ve changed your mindset about relaxation, you’ll be more likely to find solutions to fit it into your busy schedule, guaranteed!
If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of relaxing, I recommend reading Alex Soojung-Kim Pang’s book, Rest.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments! Can’t wait to hear if this article changed your attitude, even just a little, about the power of rest.