"Rest must be non-negotiable."
― Kimberley Baker Guillemet
I’ve been going through an analysis lately of determining my point of maximum efficiency and productivity. I believe that a person should go hard, that they should run with perseverance the race set before them. If we’ve been assigned a task, we should see it through to completion and we should do it exceedingly well. On the other hand, when we go too hard, there is indeed a point of diminishing returns. It is imperative to find the appropriate balance.
Continuing with the analogy of a race, let’s envision ourselves as runners. Track and Field athletes are quite intentional about their training regimen, as well as the timing and the level of effort they expend at various points during any given race. Depending on the type of race, there are points during the race when they give maximum effort and points at which they do not. Both the periods of maximum effort and reduced effort are key to optimal performance during the race; and after the race is over, adequate rest and recovery are imperative to ensure overall health.
How do we apply this to our lives? How do we find that balance? How do we find the sweet spot that produces maximum efficiency? On one hand, it’s important to fully exert ourselves at times--to do things with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength, but on the other, it’s important to rest and recover. Here I must acknowledge that I have not been very successful at engaging in rest and recovery. It has been a lifelong challenge for me, partially because I legitimately have difficulty finding time to rest and partially because I have difficulty giving myself permission to rest.
I tell myself that I will try to rest, but when I am short on time and I start prioritizing, time for rest is the first to get cut. This is the worst thing to do because I find myself exhausted and frustrated and by no means ready to start the next cycle of work all over again.
What it has taken me a long time to learn is this: Rest must be non-negotiable.
In that vein, I have decided that I will take a cue from one of my daughters’ favorite characters, Yoda: “Do or do not. There is no try.” My goal is no longer to try to rest, it is to rest. Full stop.
To you, dear readers, I challenge you with the same instruction: find rest.