Productivity is heavily valued in our society. So much so that some people feel that if they’re not busy, then they’re wasting time...I am some people.
I like to think that I am a productive person, and I enjoy checking things off of my to-do lists, but there are a lot of times when I’m constantly on the go and rushing to get things done. Which doesn’t seem like a bad thing until this pattern leads to an increase in anxiety. The whole time I am working, I’m making myself sick thinking about all of the things that need to be done and how little time I have to do them in. And if you’re like me, you let this take you down a rabbit hole that makes you believe that any little thing you do (or don’t do) will ultimately lead to your demise. Anxiety and stress and worry are so weird because while they are such common feelings, they do not help us do our jobs better.
As I’ve said many times before, I like to get things done as quickly as possible, so sometimes I’ll get right down to business and bull doze through my to-do list in order to be done with everything. I ignore my desire to stop and take a break, I ignore my body telling me that I’m hungry, I ignore the sun going down letting me know that I’ve been at my desk for too long, I ignore almost every feeling or emotion I have.
This system definitely helps me to get things done, but it’s usually at the expense of my well being. Every time I do this to myself, I end up taking a break and realizing how crappy I feel mentally and physically. I wonder why I feel sad and empty “for no reason.” I get really stuck in my head and start to overthink everything and wonder why I’m even doing what I’m doing. I put myself into a really exhausting thought process. And then I realize that it’s because my body is depleted of energy because I didn’t eat, I haven’t talked to anyone in hours, and my brain is simply tired. I convince myself that I can’t take any breaks because I don’t have enough time to. But while I may be short on time, it’s more beneficial for me to slow down and rest rather than to keep on pushing through even when I’m about to burn out.
ANXIETY LITERALLY PRODUCES NOTHING. “What do people get for all the toil and anxious striving with which they labor under the sun? All their days their work is grief and pain; even at night their minds do not rest. This too is meaningless.” (Ecclesiastes 2:22-23). I found this while looking for different scriptures and other things to read about dealing with stress, and I was like, “well, ya got me.” When I’m stressing out about assignments, what am I gaining? When I’m not enjoying life because I’m allowing stress to overwhelm me, what is it even for? And to not even find rest when you’re sleeping is a scary place to be.
Sometimes, it’s just good to sit down and do nothing. You may feel like you’re missing out or that you’re wasting time, but I promise you that this time you are taking to rest will be more beneficial to you than running around trying to accomplish things while you’re on empty.
Some benefits of slowing down:
You are able to take in and enjoy all of the little things in life
You get to recuperate from all of the running around you have been doing
You are able to take inventory of areas you need to tweak. Maybe you need to show yourself some more love, maybe you need to tell your friends you love them more, or maybe you’re able to be more appreciative
You get to put things in perspective and realize that whatever is stressing you out is something that you can handle
Ways to slow down:
Read a book
Take a break in between work (or whatever else you do). Like a complete break. For at least 15 minutes, do something that is completely different than what you have been working on
Watch a movie/tv show
Practice some breathing exercises
I do this one a lot at school; it doesn’t take up much time, and it really helps me to think things through before I let my emotions or tasks overwhelm me
Breathe in for 4 seconds, hold it for 2 seconds, and then breathe out for 4 seconds (all through your nose). Increase the amount of seconds you breathe in and out each time you start over
Do some type of hobby or craft that is tedious; doing things that take up time force you to be patient
Take a nap
Go to sleep earlier than usual
Say no to those plans that you if you feel too tired to go
Go watch a sunset
Take a walk
Go somewhere and observe your surroundings
There will always be an excuse for you to not take a break, but if you’re just gonna wait around until you have time to slow down, you’re never going to slow down. You have to make time for yourself to rest. I hope that this week you are able to make time for yourself to slow down.
Thanks for reading,