"If you're tired, learn to rest, not quit." Banksy
Maybe my mom was right after all. Perhaps, as a kid, when she’d tell me it was okay for me to rest instead of thinking I need to work hard on something, it was wisdom flying over my head.
Maybe she wasn’t just concerned about me overworking myself. Perhaps she knew that I might actually be better if I took some time to rest, sleep in, watch a movie, do nothing…
After 40 years of life, I’m only now starting to understand the value or rest. My identity has always been wrapped in my work ethic. I took great pride in it. But, I’ve also learned that this constant stress and pursuit has ill effects.
For example, I’ve always got up early. But for most of my adult life, I’ve tried to be up before the sun, many times struggling to wake up to a 4:30 AM alarm to get ahead of the day. This is something I could control. It was a way for me to gain a competitive advantage. After all, that’s what all successful people do right?
But living on 4-5 hours of sleep eventually catches up to you. I began to notice extreme bouts of fatigue. Hormonally, I was more than likely a disaster. When I met with a Doctor last year, all we spoke about was sleep. He encouraged me to find a way to get 7-8 hours, and he guaranteed me I’d be feeling like my old self again.
Low and behold it worked. And though I still struggle with learning to take a break, especially mentally, I took steps to make rest a priority rather then something I am forced to do.
The great Vince Lombardi said, "Fatigue makes a coward of us all." This includes all types of fatigue, mental, physical and emotional. Fatigue plays with your mind; it questions whether you can do it, it makes it easy to quit.
A good strategy is to think of work, or stress and rest, or recovery in a one to one ratio. Whatever time you spend at work, try to get at least that amount of time in rest. This is the balance of high performers.
Learn to stop. Learn to rest. Learn to take time away from work. Learn to take short walks in fresh air. Learn to sleep more. Learn to nap. Learn to put your phone down for a few hours. And learn to walk away, give things some time before you give up on them.