We all know there is a point of diminishing returns when it comes to productivity. But do you act on the signals your body is giving you to take a break? It’s hard to do that, isn’t it?
While we all might ignore hunger, thirst or bathroom signals when we are busy, stopping to get those needs met seem more acceptable than stopping your to do list to rest.
There is a pervasive message about the importance of working over resting.
I certainly grew up with lots of messages around the importance of being a productive and contributing citizen of the world. Did you?
I know my father did. We were talking about it last night after seeing psychologist and mindfulness teacher, Tara Brach, speak on her new book Radical Compassion. It was like a revelation for him, recalling messages he got from his own family (all with the very best intentions) growing up. He brought up a memory of his father taking him to skid row as a teenager, telling him that is where he would end up if he did not dedicate himself to his studies. I know my mother experienced those same messages around being productive. And, of course, so did I.
In fact, work ethic has been the main contributor to my sense of self worth. The fact that I love what I do and want to do what I do makes that easier, but overworking is something I have had to wrestle with my entire adult life. And, I have to continue to keep my eye on it.
Working around the clock (whether that is in your home or in your career) is seen as a badge of honor. How much you accomplish is certainly seen as a badge of honor.
But at what cost?
If you are being the most productive person you know, are you also the most kind and connected to your loved ones? If you are being the most productive person you know, are you also the most healthy physically and mentally?
At the end of the day, what is actually most important to you? If it is other things (quality of connections/interactions, physical or mental well being, being present) over being the most productive, then it is good time to re-evaluate and find some space for yourself.
It’s a good time to work on making some peace with rest.
If you need some some science to ease you into that process of making peace with rest, read this short article about sleep and mental health (3 min).
When you are not getting enough rest or stuck in productivity mode, you are not in a level headed space. That means your experience of life and your internal world are much more chaotic when there may be nothing actually chaotic occurring.
Read: stress begets stress.
That’s not good for your nervous system, which means it is not good for your overall physical, mental or emotional health.
Of course, everyone has a different set point of productivity that is right for their system. Not having enough productivity in your life can be anxiety producing and depressing. So, it’s important to find the balance that works for you.
As always, if you need help undoing some of this programing around productivity, we are happy to help. Contact us and we will connect you with a therapist that can offer that support.
What is your favorite form of rest?
A nap? Going to the ocean? Drinking tea? Reading?
**Disclaimer: One Heart Counseling Center is not affiliated with The Nap Ministry or any of its messaging. We just love their messages about reinforcing the importance of rest in and of itself.