I suck at prioritizing rest.
By nature, my 7 brain loves zipping from thing to thing and activity to activity with few to no breaks in between. You know how every kid has that question they ask over and over that drives their parent crazy? Mine was “what are we doing today/what about after that?”
I still love doing #allthethings, but with a few more boundaries around them. I no longer sacrifice my sleep and sanity in the name of “productivity” that isn’t actually more productive. While you may be able to dedicate a few more hours to whatever projects await you by putting off sleep, you aren’t actually more productive (at least most of the time). Instead, insufficient sleep leaves you distracted and dozing off throughout the workday, ignoring the rest of life as you bemoan last night’s adventures in laundry and this morning’s early alarm. When we stay up later and wake up earlier, constantly chasing the end of infinite checklists, we’re losing productivity and valuable time for recovery. We’re overcommitting and overwhelming ourselves, sprinting toward an ever-nearer burnout as we burn the candle at both ends and then some.
I deeply love my work, and am grateful to have a job that I enjoy and am passionate about. I like waking up each day to a new project, challenge, task in my career, as well as all the normal minutiae of life as an adult in the U.S. I love doing my physical therapy exercises, I love visiting people, I live for the buzz of a good social event, and I enjoy the busy hum of a coffeeshop when I’m reading a new book or working on an intense project. I think, all too often, we feel like enjoying these speedy aspects of life exclude us from the possibility of minimalism and slow living. After all, capsule wardrobes are for people who love neutral tones, slow living is for people with lower energy levels, contentment is for people who have already finished their career climb… except it’s not.
Part of my reason for starting this blog was honestly the accountability of it as I continue pursuing and prioritizing slow living, especially as it relates to living with chronic health conditions. When you write about slow living 3 times a week, it’s a great steady reminder to actually practice whatever you’re writing about. I’ve been on this journey for years now, slowly but surely, and I still feel like a beginner sometimes when I get swept up in the image of busyness and other people’s expectations of my days.
Slowly, though, I have learned that prioritizing rest does not make me lazy, idle, or unworthy of achieving my goals. Getting a full night’s sleep doesn’t mean I deserve the good grade or the approval any less than someone who stayed up all night getting it done, so long as it is done well and in plenty of time. Resting while others work is not just ideal, but a necessity: if I busied myself with work every time a loved one was doing something productive, I would literally never sit down. It’s amazing how much our love of busyness is less about us, and more about earning approval and fear of being labeled lazy. So, if you still need the permission from someone, here it is:
- Prioritizing rest does not make you lazy.
- Prioritizing rest will not harm your productivity; rather, it will make you more productive when you are working and let you work better, longer, as you are avoiding burnout.
- Resting, even while other people are working or “being productive,” does not make you a bad person.
- Anyone who thinks you should prioritize an activity, job, or situation over getting enough sleep on a regular basis does not have your best interests at heart.
- You are not a bad person for taking a nap, turning off your phone, getting away from screens, going to bed early, leaving a social event when you’re exhausted instead of when it’s over, or any of the other little changes you want to make to prioritize rest. It will make you a more whole, restful, confident person when you are back on your phone or with people once again.
I love my busy, exciting, ever-changing career. I love keeping my home clean. I love spending time with people.
I love it even more now that I am well-rested to pursue each of them.
Whether prioritizing rest comes naturally to you, or it takes a lot of intention and practice, I encourage you to give yourself permission to prioritize rest this week. Clock out on-time, let your hair down, put on some fluffy socks, and lean back after a long days work.
You’re allowed to rest.
You’re allowed to like it.
Go. Breathe. Rest.