Updated: Dec 28, 2020
Do you feel guilt when you rest, or on days where you are not as productive? Do you know how to truly shut off your brain and rest? No just sleep...but really truly rest...the type of rest that leaves your body, your mind, your spirit and your soul rejuvenated?
I want to challenge the societal norm of glorifying hustle, productivity, and staying busy all the time. I appreciate that there are times, or seasons in life, when hustle is necessary, but I believe when it is a long term state ( just as with stress) it is not healthy.
I struggle with always feeling like I need to be productive!
To start off I would like to be fully transparent and say I struggle with all these things.
It has only been recently that I realized it was a problem. A conversation with my sister solidified this in my mind. I was telling her how grateful I am for my current state of being off work and what an amazing opportunity it has been for me personally as I feel like I have grown so much over the past 6 months. I was telling her how I realized that I never have had the opportunity to rest much throughout my life. The only times really being my maternity leave with my 3rd and 4th child. To which she laughed out loud at me and replied, "Said no one ever! Jesse maternity leave with 3-4 kids is not rest! You have been busy your entire life. Period."
Sometimes it takes someone else from the outside looking in on your life to point out the obvious. I have been busy forever. I literally didn't know any different until I got laid off from my job during COVID this year.
My life in a nutshell
As a youth I was involved in many sports. I worked part time and juggled a very full schedule between school, work and my extracurricular activities. I remember days I would go to cross country practice in the morning before school, then after school I would have basketball practice, then after that I would work until midnight. It seems crazy to think about it now, but at the time I thought nothing of it.
Then at 20 years old I became a single mother while in University. I took no time off. I became a mother of 2 in vet school, took no time off and graduated again. Then I started my career and had 2 more children. I have always juggled many things, and been proud of that. I know how to hustle, and I know how to grind it out when necessary.
Then came COVID. I went from being very busy to literally having nothing that I "had" to do. So what did I do? I made things to do! I created project after project to keep me busy.
Now on one hand these projects have all been things that I "want" to do, not that I am being forced to do. That was a huge step for me, and I believe it has allowed me to grow spiritually and mentally.
However....I have also come to the realization that I have a hard time shutting my brain off. I need to stay busy otherwise I feel like I am wasting my time, my life, and I have no worth. This was how I realized that I actually had a problem.
Why do you need to stay busy?
If you are like me and constantly need to be busy....I challenge you to take a minute and ask yourself why? What is it that you will feel if you are not busy?
Is it society itself that has glorified the hustle and constant work drive, and you simply feel like you have to do more all the time to be worthy of praise?
Is it that you are staying busy so that you can shut off your mind and don't have to deal with a trauma or feeling that will be there if you slow down?
This was a breakthrough for me!
I realized that both these situations apply to me. I have been brainwashed into thinking busy means successful. All those years of hustling as a single Mum and getting through school. People always congratulated me on it. And it was necessary at the time, but it is no longer necessary for me to have that mentality. Long term the grind is stressful and detrimental to our health.
Constantly needing to busy and feel productive is also a trauma response. It is often easier to stay busy and avoid feeling things that have hurt us.
Rest is critical to our growth. Our muscles repair and grow when we are resting. Our hearts heal when we give them time and really stop to feel the trauma, the emotions and the hurt. If we suppress it and don't allow ourselves time to do this healing work, we don't heal. That hurt and stress remains in our bodies until we address it. Our creativity needs time and space to grow. If we are always busy we never have time to explore our creative sides. When given time and space this is when our passions start to take shape. We are no longer just trying to get through each day and survive....we start to thrive!
We all deserve to get to the point where we thrive and feel fulfilled as human beings.
I truly believe "health" is a combination of physical, mental, spiritual and emotional well being. In order for you to tend to all these areas in your life, you may need to slow down and make time for just being present.
You have permission to rest
For all those who need to hear this....it is ok to rest. It is ok to take time to really sit and be alone with your thoughts, your emotions and evaluate your life. Ask yourself if you are truly benefiting from your hustle or if someone else is the one who is reaping those rewards? Do not sacrifice your own health or well being for someone else. You are in control of how your spend your energy. Make sure you are always leaving some "gas in the tank" to tend to yourself and those that matter to you most ❤️