We are conditioned to believe that the more we work and the more productive we are the more successful and worthy we will be in life. This belief keeps us trapped in the culture of “doing, doing, doing” and leaves very little space for rest. FOMO is permeating through every aspect of our life and it leads us to believe that if we rest we are going to miss out of doing something better.
We have become so addicted to the “distraction of action” that it is making us numb and dumb. We feel guilty when we aren’t “doing” and so we feed our productivity vicious cycle with lists full of “things to do”, activities, and plans that fill up every minute of our day.
Incorporating real rest in our day is not about putting our feet up and checking our social media and mail. It is actually sitting on our couches and really resting. It is sitting in nature and being present. Yes, I’ll say it again, “being”, not “doing”. But, since we have learned that spending our time like this is a “waste of time”, we keep running on the hamster wheel so that we can feel worthy by doing enough. Also, it makes us feel uncomfortable to sit with the feelings that emerge when we pause and get in touch with ourselves. So, once again, we avoid looking in and working on ourselves, while also not allowing the time or space for our creativity and inspiration to flourish.
If you are not interested in the emotional and psychological benefits that come simply from incorporating a little bit of rest into our lives, do it for the physical health benefits. I truly believe that resting is one of the most beneficial habits for our overall health. When we truly rest and unwind, with no cell phone or distractions, we allow our body to restore and get back to balance (homeostasis). When living under stress our sympathetic nervous system is chronically “activated” and we don’t allow the body to recover because it is too busy putting the body’s resources into basic surviving. It isn’t until the body and mind truly relaxes that the immune, digestive, reproductive, circulatory, endocrine, and nervous system can work at optimal levels. If you don’t let your body relax and recover, inflammation festers, increasing the probability of suffering any kind of disease, from a simple cold to more serious chronic illness.
If we were only a bit more intentional with how we are spending our daily energetic battery, what leaks our precious energy, and how we can incorporate more rest to recharge ourselves, our inner world would be a different place to live in.