Why Do We Resist Rest?

Our self-care is often neglected in the name of getting stuff done, but at what cost?


Woman sitting on bench looking out at trees
Even though we crave rest, we often find ourselves working more.

When we’re stuck in the cycle of a never-ending to-do list, who doesn’t want to get it all done in a day, check things off the list and then save rest time for last? After all, we must earn our rest, right?


It doesn’t always need to be that way.


Getting too much done too quickly can have a cost: Our self-care and everything that comes with it: health, happiness and longevity.


Our self-care is often neglected in the name of getting stuff done.


Why is it so tempting to do more when we know getting some rest would serve us best?


Well, for starters, we may fear that if we can’t keep up today, it’s a sign that we won’t be able to keep up tomorrow. But whom are we keeping up with? Our own idea of who we think we should be? Someone we see on social media?


Ask any full-time working mom with little ones: Our schedules are so jam-packed during the week that it’s hilarious to think that we can rest for even a moment. We think: “Rest? Who needs it? We’ll do it later when we have time.” But then later comes and we find ourselves in the same pattern: doing more on less rest.


I know how it is to stay up until the early morning hours to get things done so you can finally check off items on a to-do list that have been on there for far too long by your own standards. There can be a sense of overwhelming anxiety when your list keeps growing and you’re not getting things done.


In many cases, we praise each other for doing more. We praise ourselves for getting more done.

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But we’re in charge of saying when enough is enough.


We get to decide how we spend our time, and it's a choice to spend our time working more and not giving ourselves the rest we crave.


To me, rest isn’t just sleeping. It’s that plus allowing myself to take little pauses throughout the day to do something else other than sit in front of a computer typing away the day. Rest can be so simple, but the choice to do it often feels so hard.


And guess what?


It’ll never all get done any way.


It just won’t.


There is so much acceptance that comes with this. And it’s a little reminder to enjoy our lives more. There will always be more to do.


Give yourself permission to rest today because if you don’t, then when?


Practice It: Pick One Way to Rest More This Week

Go to bed 15 minutes earlier every night. Log off your computer 20 minutes earlier than you usually do. Read a book for 10 minutes. Rest on a bench and observe nature for 5 minutes. Whatever it is, pick one thing and stick with it for a week. Keep going to learn which rest—the type and amount—is best for you. Let me know how getting more rest goes on Instagram and Facebook @juliegtheyogi.

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