It is a beautiful Saturday morning. You go for brunch with a couple of your friends, you come home, watch some shows, and spend your afternoon with a book and a cup of coffee. it is all making you feel very relaxed and comfortable. But suddenly thoughts about your work come creeping into your mind. You think about the presentation you need work on. You worry about your emails not being checked. You get anxious about the meeting with your client or your boss. Just like that, a supposedly relaxing Saturday is ruined by your own guilt.
How often does this happen to you? Especially if you work for your own business, or you are an entrepreneur, or even if you are a hard worker for your company, this is certainly very familiar to you.
Before we dive in to why this is all very counterproductive and how to stop feeling this way, let us look into a little bit as to WHY you always feel guilty each time you try to take a break from work.
Irrational Guilt : The root of all problems
This guilt that you are feeling is known as irrational guilt. This guilt is plainly based on the “shoulds” and unwritten rules and guidelines that you unknowingly set for yourself. Because you pride yourself to be dedicated to your work, you set an irrational standard that you need to be constantly, 24/7 working. Because you want to be hardworking, you link working on weekends with extra effort, and link breaks and rest as a sign of sloppiness. This irrational guilt makes you feel guilty about resting, even if you know that rest is important. This irrational guilt is a way of you being a demanding and unreasonable boss to yourself. This irrational guilt is what strips you away from your right to enjoy the weekend off from work.
Why do you need to stop feeling guilty for rest?
As the term is pretty much self-explanatory, this guilt is irrational. I know it is definitely not easy to actually take a break from work. After all, if you are doing something you love, work plays such a big part in your life. To take a break from it sounds like an escape, it feels like a detachment, it makes you feel irresponsible. Trust me, I struggle with this way too often as well (I am even writing this on a Sunday afternoon because I spent my Saturday watching House of Cards).
But I believe that the same way this unconscious guilt messages we are telling ourselves, can also be replaced with a conscious decision to appreciate rest and breaks from work. In order to do that, we need to understand why is rest so important to actually equip us better for our time of work and hustle.
1. Rest is a form of mandatory self-care.
As a hard worker, we might link our happiness and well-being to how successful our career is. However, it is also important to note that balance is what keep us going. We cannot choose to only look at our careers as the only priority in our life. Because just like anything else, our work will have its ups and downs. It is going to always demand more and more from you, as your business grow bigger, as you promote to higher positions in the company.
In order to be able to keep up with the demands of work in the long term, our health is essential. We need rest to recharge and recuperate, to detox our minds with the anxiety and worries, and to make us feel more well-rested and pumped up again. Rest can help us feel more inspired, clear our minds to be more creative, and overcome the road blocks we get stuck throughout the week. Rest is what make us better than before, and ready to take up another week of challenges at work and hustling our way through our to-do list.
2. Rest is a form of personal development.
If you do not switch off work, even in the evenings, even during the weekends, or worse, even on your vacations, it makes you feel exhausted and burnout. You constantly yearn for more rest, more sleep, and this affects your focus. You may be drowning in a pile of mundane work that you forgot your actual goals and purpose of your work. You may lose sight of what you are working towards, and fall into a cycle of working hard aimlessly and not getting anywhere or feeling accomplished.
Rest makes you find ideas and inspiration in everything. A day at the beach may clear your mind to think of creative ways to build your business. A trip to the cafe may help you gain ideas to market your products better. Quality time spent with your loved ones may make you feel supported and ready to take on anything that is going to come your way. Like what our mothers used to tell us, “you grow taller in your sleep”, rest help us to grow and learn.
3. Rest makes us more efficient and productive.
One of the main reasons why people feel guilty for resting or taking breaks from work, is because they rest to laziness. They perceive breaks to affect their work productivity. However, it is time to tell yourself otherwise. Through experience, I am sure you know your best works are crafted when you are alert and fresh, instead of the 48th hour of being awake and working. Hence, rest can help us to be more productive. After a good night’s sleep, or a weekend off, we feel more recharged and well-rested. Not only that, by taking breaks, we tend to enjoy our work better, feel more motivated to work harder during work times, and not be clouded by our exhaustion or sleep deprivation.
It is never easy to take a break from work. But we all know when we do not rest, we tend to lose focus and motivation during work sessions. We tend to start constantly complaining and whining about not having enough time for ourselves. We may even feel a sense of negativity when Monday morning comes and we need to get to work. This is all very counterproductive and is damaging to ourselves and our career in the long run.
Make a decision for yourself today. Fight the irrational guilt you are feeling. You are a hard worker and you are dedicated without a need to prove to anyone including yourself. You deserve a break. You have a right to switch off and rest.
Enjoy your weekend and continue hustling on again on Monday. You are incredibly wonderful.