Do you ever feel guilty for sitting still? If you do, I am here to tell you, you are not alone. In a world that is constantly reminding us of how good it feels to be efficient and organised, it's hard to sit still and feel like you are achieving everything you need. Just one look at social media will leave you thinking that unless you have an organised pantry, are meal planning and prepping or are making your own baby food and baking your own bread from scratch, you are not kicking goals.
How does anyone have time to do everything we are asked (or want) to do? I.e practice self care, spend one on one time with your kids and partner, catch up with friends, run a thriving business or climb up the corporate ladder, stay fit and healthy and maybe even do a DIY course. The truth is, you don't. We need to be reminded again that social media is just a highlight reel and you really can’t have all the burners simmering hot at once or they will boil over. Something has to give and rest is a crucial part of managing our mental health.
In this day and age, the unfortunate thing is, our free time is generally glued to devices. Even a typical commute home on the train or bus that used to mean downtime, is now seen as extra work hours, filled with phone calls or emails. We are always connected and multi-tasking, it is no wonder our brains tend to feel tired.
Did you know that there is a substantial amount of research that actually shows the amazing benefits of being still and resting? Specifically on your mind. Benefits include boosting your mood, replenishing your attention levels, improving motivation and encouraging productivity and creativity. I am sure you know yourself how the simple act of “leaving it until the morning” allows you to attack the problem or task with a much fresher mindset and generally a lot quicker. How many times have you jumped in the shower, started relaxing and then had a heap of creative ideas jump into your head?
It is obvious isn’t it? You can’t fire on all cylinders if you are exhausted. Take simple things like a computer for example. Computers process things based on code and programming. They have no feelings, emotions or baggage. Even with this simplicity they still crash when too much is going on. You reset them to help them run better, plus you do software updates to improve their functionality. Us humans really should take a lesson here.
Parents, let's also think about our kids. What things do we do to help them through the day? Do you ask your kids to have some quiet time or a nap? Do you put things in place to help them go to bed smoother too? Maybe read to them or reduce screen time before bed? It really does make sense that we do the same as adults.
Hopefully by now you might be convinced that some time sitting still is actually a good thing. If you are like me and still feel a little guilty when doing it, here are a few tips to add more stillness to your life:
1 - CUT YOURSELF SOME SLACK
Take the lunch break! You might not think you have time, but I bet you still get the same amount done. Remind yourself that done is better than perfect and your sanity is more important. Don’t sweat the small stuff, your kids having two minute noodles for dinner one night does not make you a bad parent. They'd rather have a Mum or Dad that can spend that gained time reading or snuggling with them, rather than a cranky parent that rushes them to bed straight after that perfectly cooked meal.
2 - GET UP A LITTLE EARLIER
Worried that taking time out of your day is going to send your to do list into a downward spiral? Ease into a new rest routine by simply getting out of bed a little earlier. Add your chill time to the start of the day before your day gets busy and chaotic.
3 - BE REASONABLE
Busy really should not be worn as a badge of honour and in some cases, busy doesn’t even mean productive. We’ve all been there, you are so busy, you spend your day multitasking and only complete 10% of 10 things instead of 100% of something that can be crossed off the list.
There is nothing more de-motivating than finishing the day with outstanding tasks on your long to do list. Most of the time the reason for these remaining tasks is due to our unrealistic expectations. Why not try to be more reasonable and only write down your priorities? Everything else that gets done is a bonus.
4 -SWAP BUSY FOR FULFILLED
Think about how the tasks that make you busy actually feel to complete. Do they feel tireless or exhausting or more so rewarding and fulfilling. If not the latter, try swapping out some of those tasks for something that makes you feel fulfilled. No, this is not the time to tell your boss you don’t want to do that data entry, but if meal prepping on the weekend is leaving you feel even more exhausted and stressed, give it up. Trade the stress for 4 extra hours with your family each weekend.