We wear our busyness like a badge of honor. I’m certainly guilty of this. More times than I’d like to admit, I’ve taken pride in answering the question “How are you doing?” with “I’m good. Busy.” Busyness makes me feel like I’m productive. Like I’m in demand. I’m pretty sure that I’ve even cited multitasking as one of my major strengths.
Why are we so addicted to being busy?
This notion of hustling and always being go-go-go has permeated our entire culture. We’ve been socialized to think busyness is required to succeed. That busyness makes us important. Unfortunately, this belief is burning us out and negatively impacting our health in major ways.
This is especially evident in today’s world. We’re constantly driven to do it all and more – have a successful career, tend to our family, friends, and spouses, and get dinner on the table at a reasonable hour – but at what cost?
Have you ever heard of the Superhero Syndrome?
Despite the heroic-sounding title, it’s actually a term that psychologists use
to describe women who attempt to perform all of the duties associated with several full-time jobs. It refers to those of us who choose to be endlessly busy, often to the detriment of our own well-being. Sound familiar?With so many of us spinning on the hamster wheel, when are we making any time to rest?
The thing is, Rest is not something that’s earned after you check everything off your to-do list.
It’s not tied to your work ethic either, and it’s definitely not something to neglect when you need it most. Resting is necessary and it’s what keeps us alive to tell the tale. So, how do we make it OK to actually rest? Most of us only rest when we believe that we deserve it – which is not nearly enough.
Let’s define our terms. What even is rest?
This is different from getting a good night sleep, which is passive rest. Active rest involves a conscious choice to take a moment to simply be. When you prioritize active rest, you intentionally repair your mind, body, and spirit so that you can recharge and show up better in your life.
The only catch: you have to agree that you’re worthy of rest without doing anything to deserve it.
This is the hardest part because we can always find reasons to keep working, but rarely to stop and unwind. So if it’s 3pm and you’re feeling tired at work and your to-do list is still a mile long, step away from your desk and take a few moments to just breathe in stillness. Sounds indulgent, right? That’s because you probably only “rest” when your head hits the pillow at night.
Numbing out is not resting.
By giving ourselves the space and time to rest, we can start living more fulfilled lives and get all of our sh*t done at the same time. We often blur the lines between the two. Sorry to burst your bubble, but laying down and scrolling through Instagram is not rest. Binging Netflix, also not rest. Going for a run? Nope, still not rest.
The obsession with social media hasn’t helped our cause. In fact, it’s made things worse. This pressure to share every moment of our waking life – what we’re doing, what we’re looking at, or who we’re with – is forcing us to be “on” at all times. It’s exhausting.
If staying busy and squeezing a million tasks into a single day is exhausting in and of itself, why do we continue to do it?
Well, it’s that all-familiar, self-inflicting feeling of guilt. More specifically, the guilt we feel when we believe we aren’t doing enough. If our society puts busyness on a pedestal and sees it as a symbol of importance and responsibility, then there’s no doubt that we’re all going to try and keep up. And when we’re not constantly “doing”, we feel lazy and unproductive. It’s a lose-lose.
So, how do we normalize rest?
1) Reframe. Rest is not a reward.
I invite you to stop thinking about rest as a gift that comes from our hard work but rather normalize it as a natural part of our daily routine. When we change the way we think about rest, we can return to work with more motivation, show up for our families with greater energy, and care for ourselves in the way we deserve.
Don’t worry about what your rest looks like.
It might actually look like nothing at all. You’ll probably find that it’s easier to keep going than it is to pause and just be – it’s what you’re used to. At first, pausing might feel like slamming on the breaks. Your body might resist. You may fidget and feel uncomfortable. And your brain is likely to rebel with endless chatter of to-do lists, regrets and worries.
I promise you that this temporary discomfort is worth it. By slowing down and easing into your rest, your body and mind will begin to feel safe. You’ll realize no tigers are coming. Once you get to this safe place, that’s when you’ll begin to reap the benefits, reduce stress, and ultimately be more productive in your day.
2) Regenerate. Slow down, for real.
The way we prioritize rest in our lives is a direct representation of our self-worth. It’s a sign of taking our life into our own hands, listening to our bodies, and caring for our mental and emotional health.
Finding that elusive work life balance is about understanding when our bodies are demanding rest from us and when it’s time to actually listen.
Life is full of triggers. While go-go-going might feel productive and perhaps thrilling in the moment, it’s untenable. Sooner than later it’s going to lead to a rushed decision or a comment that you wish you could take back.
When I find myself in that state, I reach for CBD. It’s my off-ramp from the stress highway to a slower pace.
I take a Moment and a conscious breath. It’s simple. It’s effective. And it’s something I can do anytime I need help slowing down.
3) Repair. Thrive instead of survive.
By changing the way we think about rest and then following through with action, we’ve created the foundation for real repair to take place. Introducing active and intentional self care into your daily routine allows you to continuously tend to your mind, body, and spirit. When you’re consistent with this, you will begin to shift from surviving life to thriving with it.
Taking those conscious moments throughout the day to just be, to rest, and to be OK with not doing, will transform the way you show up in your day. And making CBD a part of your daily rest routine can help amplify its effects.
From this point on, I welcome you to change things up. Instead of taking that coffee to go, take a second to smell the freshly ground coffee beans in the air. Don’t rush out. Sit and enjoy that first sip. Resist taking out your phone and instead, look up to the world around you. It's amazing what can happen in one present moment.
This is what conscious and intentional rest looks like: It’s not you being unproductive or lazy, it’s not a reward, it's you seizing the present moment because you're worth it. Sometimes, it’s okay to just be.