In our coalition work and the rest of our lives, our culture supports constant productivity but doesn’t praise or support rest (or play). When we are constantly focused on checking one more thing off of our to-do list and not taking time to rest and pause, we will continue to live in a place of overwhelm. Although the practice of rest is a constant practice for me (and often needs to end up on my to-do list for me to remember ;), I have discovered three benefits to resting that have been helpful for my work and my relationships.
When we rest, really rest, our minds have the ability to come up with solutions to our most difficult problems. Rest helps us see things in a new way and also helps us see ways that other people may be able to work alongside us. When we are constantly checking off a to-do list, we don’t see opportunities for delegation or simplification. When we rest, we refresh our thinking and open up new possibilities. For instance, how many times do we stay up late or try to work longer hours on writing or a project and struggle with the way to organize, write or present the information? And then, we go to sleep, allow ourselves some rest and look at it again with a fresh perspective only to find we can think more clearly, creatively and efficiently.
Rest gives us renewed energy. In our coalition work, it is really easy to become weary, burdened and burned out. Although we care deeply about the work, we have lost the energy to do the work well. And the more time we spend trying to “make ourselves” keep going, the less productive and energized we will be. Last week, I had the opportunity to facilitate an in-person Summit. Before and during the event, I had tremendous energy (and this work is in my “desire zone” so it already gives me more energy). After the event, I was really tired and knew I needed to rest and wanted to reconnect with my family. Although it was a difficult decision, I decided to block off the last two days of the week and the weekend to rest. Initially, I struggled with feeling like I really needed to “do” something with my other work but decided to keep focusing on resting and enjoying time with family. Amazingly, as I sat down to work again on Monday morning, I had renewed energy and creativity that helped me address my other work commitments with clarity and efficiency. I accomplished more on Monday morning than I would probably have been able to do on Thursday and Friday combined!
When we rest, we are able to see clearly what is most important to us and how we want to spend our time and energy. We can also recognize that it does not always have to be us doing the work for the work to be accomplished. As we rest, we have space to reflect and realize that some of our “yes’s” may not be the right fit for us but may be a great fit for someone else. Alternatively, we can consider areas that are the right fit and how to spend more time doing the things that we are good at and enjoy. The rest time also helps us see that not everything we are doing as a coalition is necessary right now and that everything will not fall apart if you do not “check that box” this week. One of my favorite books that supports this idea of perspective and rest is Win at Work and Succeed at Life by Michael Hyatt and Megan Hyatt Miller.
So what about you? What can you do to rest, really rest over the next few weeks?
If you would like additional support to help with rest, check out my free resource, Escape the Overwhelm: 7 Practical actions to find balance in your work.