Individual Leadership

Rest isn't the enemy

Written by Megan Davis

3 Min Read

For the last few months, Siegfried’s blog was on a break. It was a difficult decision, but one that felt necessary as we all (including most of you!) adjusted to the last year. 

Although it was disappointing at first, stepping away was a silver lining. For more than two years, we published a new article nearly every week, and there were some weeks that the grind of churning out content didn’t feel great. And that wasn’t in spirit with what we do at Siegfried or what we wanted to accomplish with this blog. Our intention is to inspire you to lean into the best parts of yourself. And how could we do that if we were just going through the motions?

All of this made me wonder about my fear of slowing down or taking breaks. Because even though self-care is becoming more of a priority for people, I think there’s still a bit of a stigma when it comes to rest. There’s a saying after all: If you rest, you rust.

But, I don’t think that’s fair. True rest is essential to so many areas of your life: your health, productivity, happiness, mind, and for some, soul.

The hustle’ and the ‘work hard’ mentality

We all have trouble disconnecting from work and the demands of daily life — both mentally and physically. I’m guilty of this. I find myself checking my email and working on the weekends, choosing not to put an out of office message on when I’m out of the office, or starting a load of laundry at 10 PM. 

It doesn’t help when I see others sharing about how they’re grinding or hustling 24/7. When do they sleep? Read? Eat? Play games on their phone? Time, after all, is one of those things that many of us don’t seem to have enough of.

And maybe that’s one of answers to the question of why we don’t rest. We don’t have the time.

Rest takes time

But we need to make the time. Rest takes just as much focus and energy as work. And as a result, it’s equally powerful. When we’re well rested (and that doesn’t mean sleep), we can be more present, energized, and engaged in our lives. Some might argue that the benefits of rest aren’t measurable, but that doesn’t make them any less valuable. Who can honestly say that giving yourself the space to assess yourself, your life, relationships, future, and what makes you happy is a waste?

“He that can take rest is greater than he that can take cities.” – Benjamin Franklin 

Rest looks differently for everyone. For some, it may be drinking tea and reading a book. Or taking a nap on the couch. Maybe it’s sitting by a quiet lake or in your favorite chair at the library. For you, a mindful break of 15 minutes can be enough, but for others, they may need the full day to step away.

Fully engage in however you decide to rest

When you do decide to rest, lean into the decision. Start small if you need to, but fully commit to it. Rest, after all, isn’t the enemy. It’s good for you and for the people around you. Mindful resting is more than just stepping away from your work, however. It’s about taking making an intentional choice to put yourself first.

If you want to reclaim your rest, here are a few things you might want to consider:

Schedule it. Find a time that makes sense for you to step away from any overwhelming tasks, frustrations, or anxiety. Put it on your calendar if you need to. Think of it as an opportunity for you to refill your gas tank, and we all know that it’s impossible to run on empty.

Remove distractions. My phone is my biggest distraction. It’s always with me and it’s so easy to pick it up and start scrolling instead of doing what I need to do. Which, of course, leaves less time for what I need to get done. To help combat this, I recently downloaded an app called Forest that helps you stay focused and present.

Don’t make excuses. You are the keeper of yourself, your schedule, and your time. Say no to things or create new habits if you need to.

Include or encourage others to join you. Like most things, it’s easier to rest if you feel supported by those in your life. Encourage your partner, friends, or family to practice rest as well.

Our reasons for resting vary, and you might not even realize you need to rest. In a world full of frantic energy and constant connectedness, it can be especially challenging to focus on yourself and what you need. But when you give yourself the space and time to rest, really rest, you’ll begin to see how refreshing it can be.

So, find some time this week to rest. Enjoy it!

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