The Balance Between Rest & Work

It’s the weekend as I’m writing this, and I love weekends.  

I love weekends because I get to make a big “To Do” list for myself, and start early Saturday morning knocking things out on the list. 

But this weekend was different.  

For the past two weekends I had plans that precluded my own list, so I thought I needed to get even more done. 

But what I found was that I was tired, and I needed rest. 

Drats. Rest is for sissies. Rest means laziness. I mean – I kind of feel like I need special Permission. 

When it comes to rest or even self-care, I am unfortunately way out of balance. I tend to overwork myself, and make those long lists, and spend very little time just reading or watching movies, or hanging out with friends.  

I tend to think that the only valuable time is time spent being productive – so I make a list at the beginning of the weekend, and try to work through it, plugging away, marking out the list as I go. I find a lot of satisfaction in marking things out – drawing a little line through an item that’s done. I’ve been known to even write down something I have already done, and immediately mark it out, just to make the list look better! 

So what happened to my list this weekend?  I didn’t make one. 

Balance in the work / life / self-care and rest world is going to look different for everyone, but the main thing is that everyone needs to have rest. I need a little “me” time and so do you. 

Now too much of a good thing can make you sick. Cotton candy – my favorite treat – is so yummy. But if that’s all I eat, it’ll make me sick. So I eat veggies, but every now and then, I eat cotton candy.  

Likewise, balance is not rest and play ALL the time, but working MOST of the time, and building in time to play and rest.  

And rest needs to be on the list, just as much as “clean the toilet” and “wash the car.” I give you permission! 

Here are just a few ideas that might help you balance your work and your “must do’s.” 

Be intentional – make time every day/week. 

Every DAY should contain at least a few minutes of mental and physical rest – not just going to bed at night, but actually sitting down and resting your mind and body from work. You may have to even schedule that time – if you’re like me – and make sure that it’s just as much a priority as the work you have to do. 

Then each WEEK, there should be time built in – again, you may have to schedule it if you find yourself having a hard time with this – that you PLAY or REST. Making time for friends and exercise and fun is just as important as that “to do” list. 

Be deliberate – pre-plan the time to play and the time to work. 

The play / rest time won’t happen unless you are deliberate about planning it. Put it on your calendar if you must – but make sure it happens. 

I know it’s hard to fit it all in – doing all the “must do’s” and getting to the fun part – but you’ll be much more productive if you take the time for self-care. 

Allow spontaneity. 

Planning is great, but don’t let plans get in the way. For example, if you have Sunday planned as your “fun day,” but you get an invitation to go to the lake on Saturday, you can always reschedule. If you have friends calling you up and inviting you places, consider yourself lucky to have them, and don’t turn them down!  Allow balance between work and play, but don’t be afraid to play! 

Enjoy! Don’t feel guilty. 

When you work – work with your whole heart. And when you play, do the same! Don’t feel bad that the “one more thing” didn’t get done. Enjoy the time with friends, or relaxing, or playing. It’s okay. I give you permission to PLAY!  

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