You’ve had a long week but the pace is winding down. The kids are out with their friends, your husband is engrossed in a John le Carré novel, and you’re finally able to sink into a bathtub filled with warm water and bubbles. Life feels like heaven as you float in the water.
Until. There’s a whistle from beyond the door indicating a new message on your tablet. Maybe it’s the message you’ve waited all week to receive. The clients work in completely different time zones and if you want to catch them, you’d better get out of the tub right now.
Before you can say: “But I just needed a break” – the bubbles have disappeared and you’re wrapped in a towel checking your messages, about to re-launch into work mode.
In our work focused world, where productivity is king and every minute is getting billed, it’s little wonder that we can’t prioritize our moments of pause. Whether it’s guilt, ambition, or obligation that brings you back – over and over, it encroaches on our personal space.
But don’t worry, we have a starters guide for you. This isn’t the entire solution to your ‘can’t stop working’ situation, but it’s the first step in your journey.
1) Understand this: rest is not a luxury.
Rest is a necessity. Without it, we do not function at our peak potential, and that’s when the whole world begins to unravel.
2) Try this: plan out your day.
Make a schedule of your obligations, your time, your needs . . . and look at this tangible form of your week. Now ask yourself: does this make me happy? What can be cut back on – and for goodness sake, do not cut the bubble baths if that’s your place of Zen. Remember point one? Rest is not a luxury.
3) Remember: The body will fight back.
Our mind is capable of big things – huge things – but the body keeps us in check. So why not avoid the week-long sick leave and instead just pause as required. Being the person who comes to work sick doesn’t make you a trooper, it makes you susceptible to becoming much worse.
4) Lastly: Put away the toys.
Tablets, laptops, mobile phones, televisions, etc. How about a long conversation at the dinner table instead? A game of cards? Sometimes the mind needs quietness. This is most easily accomplished if the toys are silenced and put away.
Your take away: Schedule your time on a sheet of paper and look at how your energy is spent. Then cut away one obligation. Just one. See how that makes you feel, and do not fill that extra time with work. Remember, rest is not a luxury. It is a necessity. There’s no need to feel guilty for taking care of yourself.