Working from a rest state of mind

You hear all this talk about less work and more life. About how we should be resting more so that we can serve better when we are working. We know it's true, but is usually one of those easier said than done things.

If you’re like me, you have a hard time turning off your brain and stepping away. Even when you’re not in front of a computer, behind a camera, or with a pen or paintbrush in your hand. You see, I like to be productive and I usually find myself just wanting to do something (you too?).  

But once you learn the art of truly resting, it can be such a rewarding and life-giving thing - one that you’ll want to keep in your life and adapt to your work just like I have been lately.

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What exactly is rest?

Rest has become a buzzword that is thrown around all over the place. But behind the fluff there is genuine value in this word. When it is talked about so much, it’s hard to know exactly what it means.

It can be defined differently to everyone, and that’s what makes it so good. Rest for you may be different than rest for me, but ultimately it just means to take a break from what you’re doing. It can mean to take a nap, go for a walk, or even work on a different project. Maybe you want to read a book, workout, or do something creative just for creativity’s sake. Once I figured out what exactly rest meant to me, it opened up a world of possibilities.

Resting doesn’t mean you have to sit still. To me, resting is more active than still. I like to rest by working on passion projects, creating new things, reading, or filling up my inspiration tank. Sometimes I might be sitting or relaxing, but I’m rarely doing nothing.

Rest doesn’t have to mean doing nothing. By resting, you are stepping away from the task at hand and giving yourself a mental, physical, and emotional break. It allows you to look up from what you were doing and take a breath.

Resting can happen in short spurts during the day, or for months at a time. Depending on your season of life, business, and balance (because balance exists in seasons, and you can find yours here) you might find yourself resting more or resting less. Regardless of when or how you rest, making time for it makes all the difference.

How I shifted my mindset

Like I said earlier, learning the art of rest may not come easy for those of us who are always moving forward. But it is well worth the challenge to make rest such a regular part of your routine that you do it without even thinking.

Recently, I’ve subconsciously shifted my mindset. And now that I’m looking at things differently without even noticing it, I’m realizing that I like what I see.

I used to feel so exhausted all the time. I constantly told my husband that I needed less responsibilities. That I couldn’t handle it all. That is was impossible and wearing me out.

Yet I never really made much effort to make it change. I kept running on the hamster wheel hoping someone would rescue me from the endless exhaustion.

When I finally bucked up and made some changes, it happened. I got off the hamster wheel. I actually took time to rest. I took on less work and freed up time in my schedule to do anything I wanted just so it didn’t feel like I was always chained to my calendar.

And let me tell you - it was so refreshing. It was like a literal breath of fresh air. I felt like I could breathe again and like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I could do my work and actually finish it at the end of the day. I could be more present with my family. I started sleeping better and feeling better, and overall just felt happier. No more round and round with the overbearing weight of all of it.

Work, Rest, and Balancing them both

I felt like I had finally mastered the concept of rest. Little did I know that this shift would transfer itself into my work too. When I started making more time for rest, I liked the way it felt. I didn’t want to give it up and go back to where I was before. So instead of leaving my work feeling too full and like too much, I wanted it to be filled with margin too. To finally have time to work on all those projects I’ve been dreaming about for too long.

Instead of thinking of work and rest as two different things, look at them as one in the same. We can work from a state of rest. We can work hard, hustle, move forward, and be productive without being stressed out, overwhelmed, and frazzled all the time.

Who says work has to be so hard? Why can’t our work be relaxing too?

When I started looking at things this way, I felt like I had found the missing piece. It all made sense. Not only was I making time for rest itself, but I was carrying that feeling into my work too.

I started working from a rest state of mind.

It all came full circle and everything balanced out again. Rest is a beautiful thing that doesn’t have to feel like a myth. Just like balance, it can happen and you can make it a regular thing in your life too. Not only that but you can continue that state of mind into your work too.

It’s not necessarily about doing less work but more about the state of mind your in when you’re working. Instead of feeling pressured and stressed to get it all done, put your head down, do the work, and take it one day at a time. But most importantly, know your limits. Know when you need to stop working instead of trying to push yourself beyond.