“It takes courage to say yes to rest and play in a culture where exhaustion is seen as a status symbol.” — Brené Brown

I’ve found myself stuck in western culture’s mindset of “Go! Go! Go!” I feel guilty if I’m not “doing” something “productive” (whatever that means). I track all of my “To Do’s” and get a [very short lived] feeling of accomplishment as I check one “To Do” off and then the feeling is gone and it’s on to the next “To Do” on my list. I workout every single day (even if only walking 10,000+ steps) – which is mostly positive as it helps manage stress, improve sleep, maintain healthy body composition, etc. so I’m not going to stop that. In spite of the constant pressure I put on myself, I’m often left with a feeling that I’m still not doing enough.

I recognize the need to slow down and and am working on how to “say yes to rest and play” as Brené Brown suggests. I target 7 hours of sleep each night and have been practicing daily meditation (which has been challenging for me to learn to sit still with my thoughts), journaling and shifting to more recovery exercises like yoga and Tai Chi. Play examples include taking aerial silks classes, playing a paddle game on the beach and working as a team to keep a half dozen balloons from hitting the ground by smacking them up.

What I’m discovering is that more rest and play shifts my mindset away from “Go! Go! Go!” to a more relaxed and creative space where I can show up, be more relaxed, do the work more efficiently and not beat myself up for whatever I’m not getting done. That’s the paradox: By focusing less on the stuff I need to get done, I can do more of the stuff I need to get done.