If you are a working person in 2023, you know that productivity is king in many facets of life. Your boss expects increases in productivity, and often we project high productivity within our personal lives when it comes to maintaining our social life, homes, families, etc. With all of the demands of everyday life, a person can begin to feel overwhelmed, and burnout can occure. The solution to this is very simple, but for many, it doesn’t seem possible. That solution is rest.
While the question of productivity vs rest came to light during the madness of 2020, it has been something bubbling up for a couple decades now. It’s almost become a question of “does taking time to rest make you a lazy person?” Our answer is no. You are a living breathing entity. Our bodies are not made to be worked to the bone day in and day out. It’s essential for not only our physical health, but our mental health, to be able to sit back and rest. Rest your body. Rest your mind. You are not a robot.
Why has rest become seen as a sign of weakness or laziness?
We live in a productivity obsessed culture. Taking breaks can make one feel lazy or immoral because that is valuable time that we could be dedicating to output. In fact, most people directly link their output or productivity to their worth as a person.
If you think about a day where you have nailed a presentation, closed a big deal, or made a really good proposal, you feel like you’re on top of the world. You have that sense that you’re a person of value, and worthy of your keep. On the other hand, days when you feel sluggish, your output may not be as high, and you can start to wonder why your boss keeps you around or that you’re just not good at whatever it is you do. So you end up pushing through those days to reinforce that you are valuable. This can become a toxic cycle if gone unchecked, and can lead to a decline, not of quantity, but the quality of your work.
Your brain is a muscle
If you’ve ever been to the gym, you know that between each workout, and even between each set within a workout, you need to plan time to rest that targeted muscle group. Biologically, it is essential to get the results you want. If you don’t take these breaks, your muscles deplete and you can’t eek out another rep. Your brain is no different. When you mentally extend yourself, your brain begins to slow down, and doesn’t make connections as easily as when it is “working fresh”. At this point, your work or your relationships begin to suffer. Just because you're producing, doesn’t mean you’re fully present, and it doesn’t mean what you’re producing is at a standard that is worthwhile.
Rest is essential to your brain so it can function properly.
It’s time to reframe the need for rest. It is not taking away productivity. It is enhancing your productivity! Whether your version of rest is a nap, a walk, taking a bath, reading a book or our personal favorite, Getting a massage; they are all in service to improved health, creativity and productivity. After all, even God took a day to rest!