I had the opportunity to escape the city yesterday and take in the beauty that is Mother Nature on an incredible hike. In a city like New York where the hustle is endless and everyone is infinitely on the go, that’s not always an easy thing to do. But thanks to a couple friends and a small plan, we made it happen. While away I had the great opportunity to simply be and it was pure magic. Often times I think we forget, because the world around us is so busy, that rest and/or down time is just as important as the times when we are busy grinding and essential to the element of growth.
I don’t know about you but when I wake up each day I usually hit the ground running. As a small business owner I am busier than ever utilizing every waking moment to cultivate, build, and grow. If I don’t work nothing pertaining to my business is going to get done and that is the bottom line. Therefore time is money. When we think of success and successful people it’s natural to think it takes working 24/7 in order to get the job done but is this truly the case.
If I can take it back to running for a minute this summer proved to be a bit of a struggle for me. Hit with pain and inflammation in one of my hips and knees I had to pull back on running as a “normal” activity. Opting out of social runs, meditative runs, and the most difficult of all marathon training. In the beginning I was devastated. Enlisting the advice and care of a Physical Therapist who told me that I needed to rest. I couldn’t believe the words. No running for at least 3 weeks at the start which eventually turned into 5 weeks total. What was I going to do? Waiting patiently as my friends and community that I was a part of continued to build, grow and engage without me. As an athlete one of the first things you learn is the importance of listening to your body. In essence the pain I was feeling was my body's way of telling me what I needed most. REST. I was working overtime and it was taking a toll. It wasn’t until I had an internal conversation with myself that I realized I was downward spiraling over nothing. Instead of looking at what I thought I was losing by way of sitting out or resting, I.e. time with friends, clarity of mind, endurance, the rights to say I ran yet another marathon, etc. … I had to start looking at what I was gaining. Strength, resilience, physical health, recovery, and the ability to continue running for years to come. It was that perspective that led me to see the next 5 weeks merely as a minor bump in the road as opposed to the detriment of a scrapped season or worse not running again.
I’m not sure how we get into the habit of automatically thinking we are losing when we aren’t hard at work but it’s simply not the case and that is what I would like to focus on today. Why is it that rest is so often overlooked and undervalued?
Prior to becoming a life coach I was a model agent for 13 years. And for 13 years I worked my butt off to be the best of the best in my field. To represent the best and do my best for them. Whatever the cost to me, my talent and the agency I represented knew they could count on me at all times and that I was never not working for them. Like many others in entertainment and creative fields my life and schedule was hectic. Working in the office by day and out socializing, networking and building empires by night. With the inception of email smart phones and social media, boundaries of how and when you would work were a thing of the past. I worked with clients, agencies and talent worldwide and time often wasn’t a factor. If they needed something I was there, and if I needed something they were there. I knew there were times I was doing myself, mentally and physically, more harm than good but my work ethic is so strong that it was hard to operate in any other way. That's something that still stands true to this day. While I wouldn’t change those characteristics for anything in the world, reflecting on life and experience I do believe there is a time and place for hard work and rest to co-exist.
So just how do you do it?
Well, I believe the magic lies within simply believing the co-existence to be true. I think a great place to start is by shifting your perspective to focus on the positive elements that rest has to offer. Whether within your career, your life at home, your relationships with friends or within your exercise routine create a list of all the benefits the opportunity to rest might invite into your life. Once you can see those benefits take note of where and how you see your quality of life beginning to improve? Furthermore, what are the key elements that bring about the most significant change?
Next, make a conscious effort to carve out time in your busy schedule for yourself and your mental health. Everyone’s method will look different and the time you choose to give yourself will vary as well and that's OK. Perhaps it’s escaping the city to the wilderness for a few hours, or sitting quietly with your eyes closed letting your mind go blank for a 10 minutes each day. It’s up to you to find what works and therein lies the beauty. It's quality over quantity that rings true here. Whatever it is my only challenge is that you try something.
Understanding the complexities and dynamic between the time you allow your mind to recover vs. the time you push it to the max holds a magnitude of power in the pursuit of a well-balanced life.