Exhaustion, in many societies, has become a status symbol. If you are exhausted, you must be making big movements. If you are busy, you must be extremely productive. Recently I have tried hard to stay away from “busy” as a way of life. As a recovering member of the ‘busy badge’ crew, I know how easy it is to devote time only to the things that meet the needs of our families and businesses and that only move us towards our personal and professional goals. Sometimes we just feel like we have too much on our shoulders to take a break, right? You will break when it’s all done, right? Wrong. There will always be more to do. There will always be more productivity that can be achieved in family and professional lives. So, this points to our need to hit the pause button and be intentional about the rest and play that we incorporate into our lives.
Full disclosure: I am new to the rest and play club! Although intellectually I have known the value of rest and play for some time now, it is only in the last couple of years that I have been truly intentional about incorporating it into my day to day. I am certainly not at the amount of rest and play that I would like, but I am getting closer.
In order to make ‘rest and play’ work for you, you first need to move past any limiting beliefs that ‘rest and play’ are wasting time. Sometimes it may seem this way, but in fact it is the opposite. When rest and play are part of your norm, you will feel more alive, more open, more imaginative, more creative and have higher levels of happiness and productivity.
‘Rest and play’ looks different for different people and across different life cycles. If you are moving towards making rest and play more intentional, there are a few things to consider finding an equation that words for you.
1. Consider your personality. The list of rest and play activities for extroverts and introverts can look quite different. If you are someone that has to make an intentional play and rest plan, this is a step you don’t want to skip, as choosing activities that are not in line with your personality may be the fastest way to cut out rest and play!
2. Be honest with what you love to do. The first thing is really to take stock of what you love to do at this point in your life. Make sure this list is about YOU and not about what you think you should like to do.
3. Be honest about what family fun looks like. Making a list of what rest and play looks like for your family is a great idea. For some families a hike may bring great joy, for other families the idea of a hike brings on crying children, frustration and anxiety.
4. Choose a timeline. Whether you are incorporating your rest and play into your life daily, or on specific days, have a plan. It is easy for rest and play to be put on the back burner or completely pushed off the to do list when it hasn’t been scheduled in.
5. Be compassionate and realistic. For my fellow ‘busy badge’ crew members, moving towards intentional downtime can itself bring on anxiety. Be compassionate with yourself and ease your way into it. Plan what is realistic and will bring you joy for you at this point in your life. Constantly adjust and re-evaluate as you need to.
Shifting Perspectives is a weekly conversation with Yolande. Yolande, a Canadian of Caribbean descent, now calls the Turks and Caicos Islands home and in this podcast challenges Caribbean woman worldwide to fuel themselves with diversity in the way they think, the way they work, the way they parent and the way they live.