I’ve talked a lot lately about taking more breaks and avoiding burnout. But I had a little relapse last week and it was a doozy, because I’m struggling to relax without guilt!
Warning Shots Across My Bow
My week ended with me bursting into tears during a meeting (how embarrassing). I realized as I drove to the gym I had piled way too much into my week and had not slept well. I’ve also been experiencing some very low moods, I think because of the lack of sunshine. So when I got to the gym, I sat in my car for 15 minutes and cried some more.
I texted my trainer and he was very understanding. In fact, he was very understanding three days in a row, as I took the ENTIRE weekend off from the gym (Gasp!). I must have watched 50 cheesy Christmas movies (the best kind) this weekend. I cuddled my dogs, I got love from my amazing husband, I had a bath… but mostly just watched tv.
The problem is, almost every single minute I spent “relaxing” I felt incredibly guilty! Is this something you have experienced? Growing up watching a single mom running constantly from soccer to groceries to work and everything else, taught me that I should never sit (never mind LAY DOWN) on a couch when there is work to do. And there is always work to do. (This was my interpretation, not something she taught me.)
Guilty for… Just Relaxing?!?
I have been working on this “taking a break and relaxing” thing with my counselor for a long time now—and I STILL FEEL GUILTY FOR RELAXING! What the heck?! She even “prescribed” 30 minutes of TV a week at one point, haha. As if counseling wasn’t enough, my amazing husband is the most “chilled out” man you’ll ever meet. He constantly reminds me to slow down, love, be present, and enjoy life. You’d think by now I would just give up on the whole “taking a break” thing and be “ok” as a super-productive, never-see-my-loved-ones type of badass businesswoman that I am… but we all know that is not sustainable.
The fact is I LOVE WHAT I DO so I can’t give up on this learning-to-relax-without-guilt.
And I won’t.
I will beat my couchguiltitus. I will relax without guilt.
So if you’re suffering too, here are the tips that help me the most:
Be As Nice To Yourself As You Are To Other People
One of the things that work the best for me to is to ask myself, would I treat someone I love this way? The answer is always NO! I would never run someone I love into the ground and never let them take breaks or punish them with wicked guilt if they wanted to relax for a while.
Also, see the break and relaxation as a health treatment or medicine, because it really is! We need to let ourselves relax, and do it without the guilt!
Now, if you’re crazy about your calendar like I am, you can SCHEDULE your relaxing time! Then make it happen like you show up to your important meetings!
Another amazing realization I had—success and relaxation are NOT mutually exclusive! They’re really not! The old school mentality of grind, grind, grind, WILL NOT WORK LONG TERM. It’s Hustle AND Ease and Flow that works. Think about that for a moment.
Here’s a video on self-care for a little more detail:
Take Breaks: Be More Productive. Really!
Finally, the MOST IMPORTANT INFORMATION you need to know and understand: WORKING HARDER AND TAKING NO BREAKS MAKES YOU LESS PRODUCTIVE. You will seriously get LESS done when you work MORE. There are a ton of studies out there if you don’t believe me, and I’ve also seen it firsthand. People who don’t take breaks and time to relax and rejuvenate are always less successful than during the times they DO take care of themselves.
Relax. Let Your Mind and Body Do Their Thing.
I am going to repeat that, maybe for you, and maybe for me too. You cannot be as productive, creative, or inspiring as a leader when you’re not taking time to fill yourself up. As a matter of fact, half of this blog flew right into my brain as my husband and I were taking a very lazy, easy-going, leisurely, overly, “chill” walk.
The more you chill, the more ease and flow you feel, the more relaxed you can be, the MORE CREATIVE IDEAS AND SOLUTIONS come to you! You cannot solve a problem with that grind, grind, grind mentality. But in a moment of relaxation, the same problem is answered easily. I know you’ve experienced this. Try it more often. It works like a charm.
Love Yourself. You’re Worth It.
Finally, LOVING YOURSELF is absolutely imperative to a happy, chilled out, blissfully productive life. This one I really struggle with, so I work on it every morning in my journal.
As this article from PsychCentral.com notes, “Self-care is everything from getting enough sleep to being honest with your spouse. It’s giving yourself what you need and asking what you need from others.”
Don’t be hard on yourself! I’ll keep trying not to be too! Because every time you or I think a negative thought about ourselves we are moving away from what we want. And every time we take a second to think, “Hmm I’m pretty proud of myself for that,” we stand a little bit taller, become a little more self-assured, and a lot more successful.
I really hope you’re not suffering through working with no breaks, or the opposing dreaded couchguiltitus… but if you are, you can be sure I’m in your corner saying, “You can do this. You can do it all. And you’re a badass!”
If you need more help to be more relaxed and more productive, contact TMH Business Coaching and Consulting today for a confidential, free, no-obligation consultation to propel you forward. Also, please feel free to add yourself to our weekly coaching tips email!