Feeling like life’s a bit go-go-go at the moment? As exciting as it is to get stuck into work after a Christmas break, it’s really important to remember to plan in time for rest and relaxation as well. Paradoxically, the best time to rest is before we actually start feeling tired – because by that point, we’re already heading into exhaustion territory. As anyone who’s experienced burnout before knows, it’s very difficult to recover once you’ve pushed yourself past your limits. While we tend to classify any work-related tiredness as burnout, the real deal is no fun: think months of recovery, reduced work, and endless fatigue. With that in mind, let’s look at 3 reasons why you should prioritise rest in your business in 2022.
It helps you avoid burnout
Burnout can sneak up on us without much warning. You know how it goes: you’re super busy with your head down in a client project, thinking you’ll be able to relax the following month. But then the project runs over, and once it’s finished you’ve got another straight away. You’re grateful for the work, but you’re just so tired all the time. Watch out – you’re in prime burnout territory. The simple fact is that life can be stressful. We’re also not guaranteed restful periods, because as we’ve seen in the past couple of years, anything could happen. Your best bet is to work in rest and relaxation during stressful periods, which is actually when you need it the most. The odd late night working might be necessary, but don’t make it a habit. The same goes for cancelling social plans to meet a deadline. Once in a while, it happens. But if you find yourself always prioritising work over rest, it’s time to reassess.
It reduces stress
Stress isn’t good for our bodies. It leads to increased inflammation, worse sleep, and a lowered immune system – none of which are particularly appealing. Rest can reduce our stress levels by bringing our body down from its fight or flight response that’s particularly strong during stressful periods. If you feel yourself snapping easily over angry client emails, a missed deadline or someone who pushes in front of you in the line for coffee (annoying, yes, but not worthy of a meltdown!), your body’s stress response is probably over-worked. It’s a clear sign to dial down the intensity of life and make time for some bubble baths, cinema trips and evenings spent reading in bed. You’ll quickly find your baseline level of stress reduces.
It leads to increased creativity
When you run your own business, there’s a lot of pressure to be creative – even if that isn’t something that comes naturally to you. You’ve got social media content to create, newsletters to write, and client problems to solve – so a creative block isn’t what you need. If you find that the ideas aren’t flowing as freely as usual, you might be in need of some deep rest. When we’re under pressure, it’s very hard for us to find the mental energy needed to be creative. We usually find we can focus on the must-do tasks, but nothing more – which might mean our marketing efforts suffer, or we’re no longer able to come up with 10 creative ways of solving a client issue. Take a step back and schedule in some rest. Give your brain some time off to fully decompress, and you’ll find the creativity comes flooding back. For bonus points, go to an exhibition or concert, or take a walk in nature: anything that helps you get in the creative zone.
If you’re feeling like things aren’t really going to plan in your business at the moment, chances are you just need a good rest. Take some time to fill your cup, and get back in touch with the excitement you felt when you started working for yourself. As the American novelist Anne Lamott once said, “almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes… including you.”
About your author
Phoebe is Found & Flourish’s resident Business blogger, she is London-born and Frankfurt-, Paris- and Amsterdam-raised. Combining her Master’s degree in Entrepreneurship with 10 years writing for international publications, she’s the founder of BURO155 and Wellby, helping female entrepreneurs achieve their business goals through strategic online content. Phoebe is also a writer, and has written for outlets including the Huffington Post, the Guardian, the Next Web, For Working Ladies and Restless Magazine.
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