[mk_dropcaps style="fancy-style"]H[/mk_dropcaps]ave you ever had a blow-up or ever overreacted as of a string of neutral events unfolded? I’m guessing there that at least one or more instances came to mind as I asked that. We often operate in such a task-minded mode that we forget our self-control needs replenishing. That is why I want to talk about the impact of rest, recharging, and celebrating in your journey. Why? Well, because it crucial to avoid burnout. Jeff Olson says in his book, The Slight Edge, that it is the things that are “easy to do and easy not to do compounded over time that will get you to success or draw you backwards.” If you focus on the few basic principles that highly successful people have integrated into their lifestyle,you too will be on your own path of success and, yes, even be burnout-proof.
You may ask yourself, “How do I know if I have reached burnout?”. Well, if you have feel frustrated for any length of time you’re on a path headed there and if not soon, you will get there eventually. Ain’t nobody got time for that! Your destiny requires your best and burnout is like a bad detour. You will go in circles until you address these nagging practical habits.
When we neglect the practical, such as adequate rest, over time we are going to see the cost. We’ll reach a point that carries a momentum to bring us to a place we don’t want to be. This is the opposite of holy momentum (see the post Baby Steps); this is destructive momentum. I have reached burnout twice in my life, an outcome that was and is 100% avoidable. Avoiding this takes discernment and discipline, something that many of us tune out. We are in a world so stricken by busyness that to stop and empty our minds, press into our creator for peace, to refuel, and most of all, to rest, seems counter productive. The truth is, it is a requirement.
In scripture, this is referred to as the Sabbath. The God of the universe did not have to rest but He did so to model the importance of it for us. When we create space, He then fills it. It is a cycle. If we never pause to clean things out, to rest, and to reflect, more cannot be released. It is then that we end up retreating into a place of mere survival instead of advancing. We are beings that are three in one: mind, body, and spirit. ALL of them need this cycling in order to grow healthfully. Cycling is not just modeled in the earth in terms of seasons, but even in the female form in the monthly cycle we go through. You can also see this right on down to the cellular level in how we, as humans, constantly regenerate. It is happening around us, without our awareness, but in order for it to take place within us, we have to participate and enforce this cycle.
Now that I have laid down the importance of cycles, the question is “How do we establish a habit of rest in such a fast-paced world?”. To not only avoid burnout, but also be at our best day-in and day-out, we have to implement a couple of key principles. These principles are both equally easy to do as they are not to do. The choice is yours.
- Daily - Have a consistent bedtime. We all have a perpetual wake-up time, so to ensure restful adequate sleep, a consistent bedtime habit will guarantee you’re getting in the ideal 7.5 hours (or five 90 min cycles of sleep). To help you do so, take 21 days and set an alarm 15-30 min before your designated bedtime. How do I know I have the right bedtime? Simple. You will actually wake up before your alarm. Do it for 3 days straight and you have found your sweet spot.
- Weekly - Schedule time to unplug. This means no phones, no work, no computers. Get outside. Connect with friends and family. Do something that is fun, something that recharges you. Simply, enjoy life. Think of what you are grateful for, pray, and most of all, do not have an agenda. This does not have to be something extravagant. Sitting on the beach and soaking in the scenery is sufficient. With a work-crazed world, this actually will increase your productivity as we must rest, not just physically but our minds as well.
For the month of September, as a community, let us take the time and put a focus on this one simple habit. Journal how you’re feeling, track your progress, and adjust your bedtime as needed for your “sweet spot” wake-up time. This is a simple thing, but I believe it will enable you to go to the next level in all areas of your life. I am believing for many surprise blessings with this small step of structure to your day. When you have more energy, you have more to give to others, not just in your creativity but passion as well. In a culture so focused on sedation, being fully rested and consequently full awake, some major things will change. This is a challenge. I accept it. Will you?