Do Less Stuff

Rest is an essential component of a happy and balanced life.

I'll be the first to admit that I do too much.  I have always been one of those people who have a busy schedule and full to-do list.  Even on days off I'm tempted to have an agenda.  It's worked out pretty well for me.  I graduated with a doctoral degree in psychology at the age of 27 after all, but I've learned in life that there is a balance to be found or else your happiness and health will likely suffer over time.  You can be successful and accomplish amazing things in a non type-A obsessive way.  Actually, taking time off to rest and relax will likely make you even more successful and productive!  And happier!  And healthier!  And more fun to be around!  It's a win-win all around.

Rest tends to be associated with laziness, or as something that should only be taken after everything else is done.  But I want to emphasize this: rest is just as important as everything else!  It is an essential component of a happy and balanced life.  So why aren't we resting?  Is it that the effects of chronic stress are not seen as immediately as say not paying our bills that make us put resting off?  When our bodies and minds are constantly under stress we begin to break down.  Stress floods the body with stress hormones which has been linked to a weakened immune system, slow metabolism, inflammation, disease, decreased attention span, decreased productivity and creativity, impaired memory, fatigue, depression, and irritable moods... and this is an abbreviated list!  Did you know that people who take vacations actually live longer?  You don't have to break the bank though to reap the benefits.  Have a staycation, but treat it as a sacred time to rest (that means you're not redoing your kitchen for example-- you're truly resting!).

Put rest and stress reduction activities such as meditation, yoga, time outdoors, or whatever other restful activity you enjoy at the top of your priority list.  Start giving yourself permission to take a day off, end your day a little earlier, and/or curl up with your family and relax to unwind.  Give yourself a pedicure.  Watch a good movie.  Lay in a hammock.  Spoon your dog.  Take a siesta!

Are you making time for rest, and if not, what's stopping you from prioritizing your wellbeing?  What demands are you placing upon yourself that are limiting your ability to make you the priority?  No one else is going to do it for you.  In fact, it might be inconvenient for others that you are doing less.  Remember that your job is not to make others happy.  Your job is to make you happy.

How are you going to rest this week?