How Do I Push Pause?Jun 15, 2022
As I sit at the park and watch the kids play, I find their energy amazing! It never seems to dwindle when they are doing the things they love and that are bringing them joy. I think about the past week with my 7-year old – he has been up later than usual sitting around the campfire on weekends, enjoying time with family and friends. With winter now behind us he has been more active during the day with school, running outside in the fresh air, riding his bike, and playing at the park, yet his energy is boundless. When it is time to leave the park and head for home the tears start and two or three hours of play was just not enough it seems.
It All Adds Up
This brought me to a space of reflection on my life and those around me. As adults; we tend to busy ourselves with the day – to - day tasks of parenting or work or both. We do school drop -offs and pick – ups, attend sport events for our children, school concerts and activities, pick up the groceries – thank goodness for on-line shopping nowadays! We try to hit the gym and find a moment or two to socialize with friends or our partner. This all adds up and so does the exhaustion.
Hit the Pause Button
How can we take a moment to push pause and rest if even for 20 minutes in our day? This is an important part to our refueling, growth, happiness and creativity in life, just as it is with our children to grow, learn, develop and thrive. When we push rest aside we undermine our chances for a rewarding and meaningful life. I often hear my clients, staff, family and friends say that the hardest part is actually finding the time in their day or week to rest, I agree – and have been there myself.
When we look at research and studies they consistently show that taking the time out to rest will actually allow us to be more productive. When I share this information with others I typically get a little snicker, smart comment, or shoulder shrug in response. I can tell you that I have most definitely had experiences with overwork and under play! As a busy mom of 3, full – time work, and running my own business there has been little time for my own rest. I was often forgetful (thank goodness for post-it notes and electronic calendars!) I would double book myself for meetings, and was far too exhausted to spend quality time with my children, family or friends at the end of each day. This brought me to making some conscious decisions about how I wanted my life to look - do I want to be driven by my job, how does this define me, can I have it all? I began doing more reading, research and talking to individuals living similar experiences. What I have come to find time and again was no matter how much you love what you do, creating and striking a balance between work, family, friends and your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing is essential. Making time for fulfilling activities, and taking a break is key to maintaining a quality of life that you deserve.
When I reflect on the children playing at the park – the new games they creatively some up with, the intensity of play, the engagement with one another, and then falling asleep with ease at bed time it made me I wonder; as adults how can we begin to create this for ourselves – in a culture and society that thrives on work and “what you do” for your career and “how many hours you work”, it doesn’t add up.
It would be a benefit to each of us as individuals, leaders and corporations to take a look at how we view rest and breaks in our day for ourselves, our teams, and our organizations. How much time off are we seeing our employees take –this could be sick time, personal leave, stress leave, coming in late or leaving early and also present absenteeism – being at work but not being productive at work. It has been shown time and again that many highly successful individuals see rest as an important part of productivity.
A great read to learn more about the balance of work and play is by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, titled - Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less. Alex describes in his book;
“Overwork is the new normal and rest is an afterthought. In our busy lives, rest is defined as the absence of work: late-night TV binges, hours spent trawling the internet, something to do once we've finished everything else on our to-do lists. But dismissing rest stifles our ability to think creatively and truly recharge”.
Pang argues that we can be more successful in all areas of our lives by recognizing the importance of rest; “working better does not mean working more, it means working less and resting better”. Check out the clip to see how Pang describes rest and being productive in our day and lives; Words of Wisdom: Alex Pang on the importance of rest.
A few other ideas that you may want to explore and lessons from the kids:
- Take some time out of your day to play! Maybe this means the gym, a quick walk at lunch time, playing at the park, reading a book, and getting creative!
- Put away the electronic devices to capture some real you time.
- Get outdoors - the power of fresh air and nature is one of the best ways to revitalize your soul.
- Get together with family and friends, device free - we are built to be social and connect with others.
- Create a routine for yourself - this helps to establish patterns and consistency.
And most importantly, if you don’t make the time for you….not one else will.
Pang, A (2016).Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less. Penguin Books
Pang, A (2016). Words of Wisdom: Alex Pang on the importance of rest.
Takahashi, M (2012). Prioritizing sleep for healthy work schedules. Journal of Physiological Anthropology. https://jphysiolanthropol.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1880-6805-31-6
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