The Value of Rest & Recuperation

There is such a push by modern society to do more, sleep less, accomplish great things! Even the phrase “live life to the fullest” carries with it certain implications:

  • Make yourself tired;
  • Say yes to everything;
  • Rest and sleep means you’re not doing anything, being lazy, or generally just not living life to the fullest.

Especially here in the SF Bay Area where startup culture prevails, Founders/Owners push their employees to work 60 or 80 hour work weeks. They expect them to care about the company as if they owned it while also not giving them any ownership share.

And then there’s the hustle, the side-hustle, the monetization of hobbies and arts. Since when do we have to turn everything we love into a job? Since when do we have to leave our day job so that we can try to squeeze all the money (and subsequently, all the joy) out of a hobby? Why can’t a job just be a job any more?

Here’s the thing: the quality of your life depends on both the quantity and quality of your downtime. We need it. Everybody needs it. Do you give yourself a rest? Do you give yourself a break? A day off? Do you stay in even when there are so many great things to do outside?

Look up the workout routines of Olympic athletes. Or any professional athlete for that matter. Do you notice that they have downtime? There are days when they do nothing. Your body needs it, and it will actually function better and more efficiently with time to rest and recuperate. It’s the same with your mind.

If you’re working all the time, your mind and body start to slow down. At some point, certain things will happen: 

  • Your immune system becomes compromised, and you get sick;
  • You have trouble focusing on tasks and conversations;
  • Your breathing will become irregular, and your posture will collapse, causing you to feel even more tired. This becomes a downward spiral, draining your energy.

And look, I get it. I get that you feel guilty for sleeping in; the perpetual “but I could have taken one more thing off of my to-do list” feeling (BTW, “to-do lists” are ineffective, but I can tell you what alternatives to use in another blog post. Hint: Calendars). For some reason our culture and society has trained us to feel guilty about resting, that we need to be doing something at every moment of every day, and that even sleep is a waste of time.

Here’s my challenge to you: 

Create intentional rest time. Plan and schedule your laziness. Set certain times aside when you know you’re going to do nothing, and stick to it. When people invite you to do things, tell them “I have plans” even if that plan is to sleep in, or look at facebook on your phone, or have a movie date with yourself.

You deserve it. 

But more than that, you need it. You will see a shift in your enjoyment of life, your stress levels, and your ability to focus.

Your mind, body, and productivity will thank you for it.

Please tell me when your scheduled rest time is, I’d love to know!

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