Have you ever wondered why success seems to escape you?
You’re putting in ridiculously long hours, are checking the items off your never-ending to-do list, have power-planning brainstorming sessions, set goals with action steps … but you’re feeling more overwhelmed than you are reaping success.
I can completely relate to you.
A short while ago, I was sitting at home in a serious state of meltdown. I was burnt out, stressed out and in a serious state of overwhelm. I’m a massive workaholic and a painful perfectionist. To put the depth of my extremity into perspective for you – If I’m not working on my business, I’m working in the kitchen, working on my knowledge base, working on my home … work, work, work, work, work, work.
So as I was sitting there on the couch nearly crippled by anxiety, I realised something: I just wasn’t winning at anything. My business was still where it was, the house was still a mess, bills were still piling up and I still hadn’t achieved any of the goals that I had set for my business or myself.
I had to change something – immediately.
I promptly decided to confide in a trusted friend hoping to gain some outside perspective on my current situation. Upon having “offloaded my baggage” to this person, I sat waiting expectantly for some deep analysis followed by some jewels that I could start reflecting on.
Their response completely threw me off course.
“You need to Rest”, was their answer. Was that it? The answer that I was waiting expectantly on that would change the course of my destiny? With my growing and never-ending to-do-list, my children and their schedules, my business and the mammoth tasks involved in growing and running it – Rest?
After that conversation ended I sat moping for a short longer when it hit me – maybe this person was onto something! Maybe, just maybe, I did need a day off. A day off from absolutely everything. At that point in my life I was willing to try anything (within my belief set) to get my current situation to change, so a day off sounded like a fairly painless solution.
There’s a reason why God took a day off after He created the earth.
That one day off — I mean really just relaxing with a good book and ice-cold refreshment, completely switched off from my day-to-day tasks, did absolute wonders for me. In just one week I had actually managed to complete items that I had been busy with for months. I was refreshed enough to set aside time for growth strategy sessions [see this blog post on how to brainstorm here] . The strategies formed in these sessions actually generated new leads and conversions!
I set new goals and drafted action plans for these goals that I was extremely excited to get started on. My children and partner were happier (as home wasn’t tense anymore), money was coming in the bank … I couldn’t make this up even if I tried.
Why is rest so critical to our emotional and professional success?
Other than the obvious perks like having time to switch off from life, or do something you really enjoy, there are some really important medical benefits that lowering stress levels (through rest) can initiate.
- Improves memory: Studies have shown that something as small and simple as resting with your eyes closed in a dark room for 10 minutes can drastically improve your mind’s ability to retain new information.
- Assists with maintaining a healthy weight: Some people comfort eat in times of stress. While all that tasty food may provide you with a quick feel-good fix, what’s not so “quick” is getting rid of the extra – unforgiving – kilograms that indulging in junk food deposits in our body. It is also a medical fact that during times of stress, our bodies raise the levels of the hormone cortisol. This hormone raises our blood sugar and causes our fat cells to grow in size!
- Reduces your risk of heart disease: Studies have linked high levels of stress to blood clots which increase your chances of heart attacks, as well as persistently unhealthy elevated levels of adrenaline which may lead to heart disease. Just another reason to stress less.
- Boosts your immune system. Long-term chronic stress can have a devastating effect on your immune system. Not only does it create chronic inflammatory conditions, but a lowered immune system leaves you more susceptible to catching pesky common colds and flu’s.
Other benefits of rest include:
- A good rest can leave you feeling re-energised, refreshed and ready to take on the world;
- Boosts your capacity for creative and out-of-the-box thinking;
- Boosts your morale and overall mood;
- Deepens your relationships. By allowing yourself time-out to rest, it provides you with the opportunity to engage with loved ones and friends. This special, quality time can only deepen and strengthen the relationships. We should make our families the priorities in our lives. So often we forget this.
Relaxation tips to get you destressed in no time.
- Prayer. This is my top go-to technique so it’s number 1 on the list. In Matthew 11:28, Jesus said: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”. I know that in my deepest, darkest and most stressed out moments in life, God has pulled me through it all by simply engaging in conversation with Him and having Faith that He will see me through it.
- Keep a journal. Writing down your thoughts may help you deal with your stress better. I have found that writing down my thoughts at times allows me to see my challenge from a different perspective. Having a fresh perspective on what may have seemed like a hopeless situation can assist you with actually coming up with some solutions to those issues. Guess what this does for your self-esteem? Oh yes, it gives it a major boost!
- Cut the technology cord. Try picking up a book, playing a board game, drawing with the kids … YES. I’m talking about going tech cold turkey here and actually engaging in your surroundings.
- Exercise. Exercise increases levels of epinephrine, serotonin, noradrenaline and dopamine which not only have a positive effect on energy levels but leave you feeling fantastic after a workout. If I need to detach myself from a particularly stressful day, going for a run really helps me to achieve this.
- Get in touch with nature. Studies focusing on environmental psychology conclude that humans have an “instinctive biophilia”. This is a deeply embedded instinct to seek out connections with nature. Positive side effects of getting in touch with nature include reduced stress, improved mood and improved cognitive performance (perception, reasoning skills, etc). Hunt down your local botanical gardens or park, go for a hike, take a trip to the beach … whatever! Just get up and go!
- Music doth soothe the savage beast. While slow, quiet, classical music has long been cited as an extremely effective relaxation tool, any calm music will do. Let’s face it, classical music is not for everyone so go with what feels right for you.
Now you may be shaking your head in disbelief, thinking that rest just cannot have that much of an impact on your success. Do you know what? Don’t take my word for it. I challenge you today to start a living a more stress-free life. Start small by having a forced rest day once a week and let the results speak for themselves.
You’ve got nothing to lose but the stress.
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