I’ve ridden a roller coaster now for the better part of three years. First, the slow climb of starting a business, then the big drop of launching that business in a pandemic, and then the twists and turns of continuing to build a business at a time when people are sort of normal again. (But, who are we kidding? “Normal” is not a thing. Especially now.)
When I worked for other people, I was good at taking at least one full day off per week. Working for myself, that discipline fell by the wayside as I felt the pressure to keep up that roller-coaster racing pace: post on social media, send another email, write another blog. Anything that might sell a ticket to a yoga class or a full membership, or inspire someone to hire me for a training event.
As I headed into my birthday month this past August, I was really exhausted. You may know that my August birthday month theme was a “Take a Break Challenge.” I practiced what I preached and took a hard look at my work habits during that month.
I acknowledged the toll that working late was having on me. Nearly every night, I came home from my second job and then took my laptop with me to the couch while I watched TV. Sometimes I would focus on work on the laptop, sometimes on TV, but neither of them really got my full attention. My brain was way too fried to try to work anyway, and I made it worse by trying to do it distractedly.
So, I set a boundary: My laptop stays in its work space after 8 p.m. Then I can watch TV, read a book or do a non-work activity with my full attention. To help support that practice, I cut back on how much I post to social media because that was what I was often doing late in the evening.
I immediately felt calmer and better rested by taking about two hours at the end of my day off. What I discovered anecdotally is supported by suggestions made in the book Burnout: the secrets to unlocking the stress cycle, by Emily and Amelia Nagoski. They present research that we all need at least 10 hours of rest per day. Seven to nine hours are sleep, and the other 1-3 hours as active rest.This wasn’t surprising to me, but I definitely needed to re-learn after this failure of boundary setting. Meanwhile, I’ll keep learning this lesson until I get back regular days off during the week and schedule a full-on vacation.
What do you need to do to step off the roller coaster and get some meaningful rest?
Want more tips on how to set better time boundaries? That’s why I developed my free, five-part “Burnout Proof Life” mini course, which is full of actionable tips that help you learn HOW to really rest. P.S. You’ll be smashing the patriarchy at the same time!