“Are you an earner?” A gentleman in his 50’s asks me.
“Excuse me?” I reply.
“An earner... meaning do you have a job?” He clarifies.
I broke out in a grin, partly from the shock of his condescending tone, and also because I thought it was hilarious that I looked like a woman who didn’t work. I decided to engage with him, just to see what else he might say.
After he found out what I did for a living, he had a laundry list of business advice. He seemed quite concerned that I was not interested in following any of it, and that my main concern for the day was doing nothing for the next 3 hours. He gave up on the conversation after I let him know that I knew what I was going to do in my business, and it did not involve running myself ragged. I explained that I was in a period of rest, after 6 months of intense studying. I thanked him for his concern and his ideas. He left quite irritated that I was not swayed by his former NFL history, or his current success in business.
I’ve come to expect now, that for whatever the topic I’ve picked to write about, a real life example will reveal itself that week. Once again this was perfect…
For the last four weeks, during the time I was normally studying for exams, I have been taking that same time to do nothing. Sometimes my nothing is a nap. Sometimes it is laying in the sun and reading. Sometimes it involves sitting and just thinking. Sometimes it is a combination of all of those. But it is purposeful nothing. It is purposeful rest for my mind.
I find it quite fitting that to the outside viewer, (during my 2-3 hours of purposeful nothing, 2-3 days a week) it appears that I don’t have a job. I left that interaction very pleased that I have been able to quiet myself to that point. Just four weeks ago (before my last exam), I had been feeling like I might just crack. When the exams ended, I didn’t know what to do with myself. I went to the same coffee shop (the night after the last exam), and just stared at my calendar wondering what to do next.
That night at the coffee shop, I decided I was going to do nothing for the next four weeks. I was going to let my brain relax. I was going to rest, instead of jumping into the next project. Just 3 years ago, I would not have made that same choice. What I have learned over the last few years, is that I cannot do my best work without periods of rest. My best work comes after times when I have slowed down enough to hear that creative voice again.
James Clear is one of my favorite bloggers. He has a great picture to illustrate this idea. We need to keep our “bucket” full. We have things in life that drain our bucket. We have to do things for our self that fill it back up. We must give ourselves what we need in order to perform our best. If we are to become the strongest version of our self, we must rest and recover.
Have you been training more than 12 weeks without a week off?
Have you cut into your sleep time to get more done?
Is work taking over your personal life?
Have you given yourself even just one hour this week to do absolutely nothing?
Your body only builds stronger on its rest days.
Your body has to have sleep to survive.
Your mind needs time “unplugged” from everyone, in order to function to its fullest capacity.
You must rest…
“...recovery is not negotiable. You can either make time to rest and rejuvenate now or make time to be sick and injured later. Keep your bucket full.”- James Clear
You may find that people in your life are not supportive of your moments of rest. Hell, a perfect stranger had something to say about my Tuesday afternoon this week. It doesn’t matter. You need it.
Watch yourself grow stronger as you choose rest!