“Love yourself first and everything else falls in line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.” – Lucille Ball
Society seems to prize busyness. Being “on” at all times has become an expectation. Kudos to those who are focused, have a plan, and busy are working it. You possess the necessary ingredients for goal achievement! Being too busy, however, has a cost. Ironically, it negatively impacts the very success we are trying to achieve. If we go down the busy path too long taking care of the kids, the job, the home, relationships, etc., exhaustion creeps in. We wear down our nervous system and dampen our ability to be our most productive self. Racing from point A to point B, we produce and we provide. We are “on” at all the right times. However, the more externally we focus and the larger our “to-do” lists grow, the more inefficient (& unhealthy) we become. It is necessary then, to become our best self, we must slow down and nourish ourselves in mind, body and soul. To be our best self, we need to step back and rebuild our foundation. Today’s topic is nourishment of the mind through downtime. A little bit of nuttin’, honey.
You might think being idle is nuts, a waste of time. But, taking a few minutes of “nothing” can add up to a whole lot of something. It stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system and that, my friends, brings a slew of healthy benefits.
See, when we’re too busy, nothing new can come to mind. Creativity is dampened. Science has proven, however, that if we carve a little “mind space” we reap some cool benefits. Unstructured time allows for a process of incubation which is where our best ideas and solutions can come from. Not convinced to take a time out yet? The Energy Project study found that associates who took “time outs” increased their creative capacity in a huge way and enjoyed a greater level of health and mental well-being. Overwork has the opposite effect; less engagement, feeling worn out, a significant decrease in creativity/problem resolution, making mistakes, and so on.
High intensity intervals (HIIT) isn’t just effective in workouts, it’s an effective work/life strategy. Intense periods of focus should be balanced by time (breaks) allowing for rest and renewal. Short breaks boost digestion, lower the heart rate, increase work capacity, and elevate moods. So, go ahead, take a break. Observe how “energy management” can aid time management. Close the door. Turn off the phone. Or, step outside. Be still for 5-10 minutes a couple times each day. It may take a little getting used to, but the more you do less, the better you will be.
By making ourselves our own wellness mission, we can do better in serving others AND achieving our goals. Nourishing the self is essential to health, happiness and well-being.
Take 5 to renew. Then compete, better. Every day.
(Post written for Compete Every Day .)