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Slow Down: How Rest is the Success Strategy You Need

Photo by Nadi Whatisdelirium on Unsplash
Photo by Nadi Whatisdelirium via Unsplash

Sometimes I can feel myself getting ahead of myself. God put a lot of love and passion into my heart, and gave me a drive to work that has at times led to burnout.

Believe it; I wasn't always like this. I wasn't always a hard worker. I didn't always have the best work ethic either. I wasn't always good at managing my time, or intentional about making plans to get what I wanted. Growing up I was a very average B and C student, sometimes with a surprising A {or D} sprinkled into the mix. As I grew into adolescence I observed a lot and said less, because I was quite literally the butt of A LOT of family jokes. There was a lot of self-loathing, and the feeling that I didn't even belong in my own family.

College was where I grew wings and discovered that I was in control. The harder I worked, the better the results. Maybe it was leaving my high school peers behind and having a clean slate to reinvent myself upon, the change of scenery, new found independence; or maybe I had just discovered a new layer of myself?

Looking back, I see that this phase served me for a while, but unknowingly I was also developing a coping mechanism for never feeling good enough. There was nothing I could do during my childhood or teen years to escape the ridicule I was surrounded by, but in this next phase of young adulthood, I could avoid all of that by striving to be as close to perfect as I could get. I was determined not to mess it up. So, I become a perfectionist and people pleaser with no limits {personal boundaries} as a way of receiving unhealthy validation to fuel pushing myself to the extremes.

No doubt we have a lot more stamina in our late teens and early to mid-twenties. I took a full class load, worked a part-time job at the library, and even became a Resident Assistant. My junior year, I was tired of being a poor college student, so I transferred to the local university close to my home, worked 40 hrs at a restaurant while taking a full class load.

I was stretching myself thin and wearing myself out. This became a pattern I carried well into adulthood. I became addicted to achievement {and cortisol}, and not in a good way. I continued to pile on more, while never giving myself time to acclimate or get a grip on my current responsibilities.

I've worked hard to overcome my perfectionist and people pleasing tendencies. I've had to learn the value of rest and make nourishing my nervous system a top priority. Now, I'm headed into another period of growth and am so excited to take my business and life to the next level! At the same time, I see my summer schedule filling up, and I'm making plans 3-4 months out. At times, I can feel the overwhelm rising, and I am reminded that old habits die hard.

Even after years {and years} of working to overcome some of these unhealthy habits/behaviors, they still creep in. I still need to remind myself what's realistic when it comes to how much I can get done at a steady pace v. how much I could get done if I jam packed my schedule and worked myself to the bone.

I love to work...Like, I really love it. I know that might sound insane to you, but it's true. When I get in the zone, I can work 10 hours or more. It's only because I have other priorities and responsibilities, have mastered my time management, and learned to be mindful of not exhausting myself, that I consciously know when I need to stop. I can honestly say I've unsubscribed from "hustle culture", but it isn't easy to go against the grain in a society that values overworking and exhaustion as badges of honor.

So although I am always working to expand my capacity, and things are getting busy headed into Summer, I am also preparing to slow down. This means I am reevaluating my schedule, revamping my routines, blocking time just for me, for my family, communicating my needs, and setting new boundaries with work and technology. Slowing down means recognizing that I can't {and don't want to} do everything. It means planning days where I stay in my pajamas all day, while eating well, napping, reading, or doing anything that on the surface may seem "lazy" or "unproductive".

I've learned that you thrive in the long-term when you're strategic about slowing down and resting. Your body and brain need it. Rest is literally the fuel that keeps you going. It enhances your creativity, enables you to be consistent where it counts, and it increases your ability to deal with unforeseen events, stress, and find the solutions you need. Rest equals resilience.

If you're naturally high energy, achievement oriented, or have struggled with perfectionism, people pleasing and boundaries like I have, it can feel pretty uncomfortable to slow down and truly rest. Keep reminding yourself that burning yourself out is not the answer, and it is not of service to you or anyone who relies on you. Be keenly aware of your time and energy, and schedule time off! Keep practicing REST. It gets easier, more fun, and you will see the benefits in your life, career, business, and relationships.


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