Rest & Revive

26 May 2021, Lynette McFadden

Rest & Revive

Recently I had a weekend off - totally off.

As luck would have it, unlike so many previous occasions, I had the rare opportunity of resting rather than working on my overburdened diary or conscience.

It doesn’t matter how you choose to avoid it, not taking the time to rest and reflect takes its toll whoever you are, and however capable.  What’s worse - it can develop into something much more serious and that’s burnout. A topic which is gaining considerably more traction in this post Covid period.

Busy lives, multiple responsibilities, and high expectations, be they personal, familial or professional, have become deeply normalized in our society. And that goes for many children too, who embark on multiple sports and educational extra-curricular activities – the reflection of a deep-rooted social norm.

I used to think slowing down was really ‘stopping’ in disguise, and I imagined numerous consequences, all of them dire.

You’d let someone down, be less productive and fail to achieve the various goals that had been set … but multiple studies suggest otherwise. 

“Rest is an essential element of working well and working smart,” states Alex Soojung-Kim Pang in his book Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less. Alex is a futurist and a business consultant; and he does his best to dispel the myth that the harder we work the better the outcome.

Two of the ways the author recommends using rest to benefit creativity include:

  1. Creating an early morning routine. Routines are said to enhance creativity. By allowing a system to support a routine you have a better opportunity and timeframe to utilize creative thought processes. Being a natural early bird, I can definitely subscribe to that although, not everyone enjoys a morning routine that starts before 5am.
  2. Napping. Sleep scientists have found that 30-minute naps can increase alertness and decrease fatigue, allowing you to move forward with what you’re doing rather than losing your way. But, 30 minutes shouldn’t move into an hour or more because this can deplete rather than restore fractured energy and decrease creativity.

It’s not about trying to always fit more into your day or just defaulting to the work harder button. It could be that we have got the relationship between working hours and productivity back to front?

After all, “Rest isn’t idleness, it can be a key to a better life.”