A Letter to the Highly Motivated: Find a Hammock and Take a Nap

Highly motivated to change the world? Great! But take it from me: burning the midnight oil will not get you there any faster! Find a hammock and take a nap — the only way to get a lot done is to balance work with rest.

Dear beautiful, super-motivated soul,

There is a mantra you need to adopt. Write it down, say it out loud, make it a daily intention:

Work hard, rest well.

I’m telling you this from years of experience. I work for myself, so I work all the time. I work long hours and days on end without a break. I have no proper schedule, no work hours, no 9-5. I have no real weekends and no real vacations. I chose this lifestyle, and it’s my dream come true.

But as I work a lot, I rest a lot, too. I find pockets of rest throughout most days — 30 minutes in my hammock while the baby naps; an hour on my yoga mat before I teach; a soak in the tub before bed. Every day, I do my best to find time for genuine, phone-free hours of play and peace.

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There’s a secret to resting every day: it isn’t really about finding time as much as it is about making time.

You could look at your calendar for the day and see every minute filled and think, there’s literally no time for rest today. Or, you can look at that same calendar and choose one thing to move to another day. You can choose to cook your meals without distraction or leave your phone on the table when you go to the bathroom.

When you can’t seem to find time to rest, MAKE TIME.

And when you do rest, it has to be deep; it has to be real, or it doesn’t count. Half an hour of gazing at the view of my backyard and the ocean on the horizon with a cup of tea in my hands can be enough to recharge me for the whole day, but it doesn’t work if I’m running through my to-do list in my head as I sit there. I have to let go. It’s a practice, letting things be. Softening. But with each purposeful moment of rest, I’m getting better. And somehow, along with it, I’m more productive!.

Right now I feel like my business is a freight train — it can’t be stopped. But I can trust that things will keep moving while I lie here, taking deep breaths, watching the clouds go by.

Learning how to put things down just might be the key to making your dreams come true.

Then you can pick them back up refreshed, clearer, and with the energy to continue moving them forward as your best self. Setting them down to recharge your batteries will lead to greater success than continuing to trudge forward in an exhausted and clouded state. Again, I speak from experience.

I say all this as I continue to struggle with it, honestly. It’s hard for me to put things down, always has been. According to every astrologist I’ve ever talked to, it’s in my chart, it’s in the stars. It’s how I am, yet it’s one of the biggest things I have to learn to change. I talked all about this in my podcast, “The Art of Slowing Down.”

I’ve done the go-go-go dance long enough to see the losses from going too hard, and the gains from taking breaks. Your business, personal health, relationships... It can all start to suffer, or even crumble, if you push too hard for too long.

So, with the warnings from all those astrologists that I need to learn how to slow down (after literal back-to-back retreats and trainings and traveling), I went on vacation.

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It was my first real vacation in 6 years. By real, I mean I didn’t even pack my computer and I stashed my phone away in my suitcase for a whole week — I couldn’t give myself the temptation.

Disconnecting from everything made me realize the absolute absurdity of being connected all the time. I work all the time. All. The. Time. If I’m not leading retreats or trainings or teaching, I’m in meetings, answering emails, putting out fires, answering questions, recording my podcast, editing my book, filming, writing, fixing, planning or posting to social media — I’m ALWAYS ON.

Even when I would “take a break,” I wouldn't really. I'd stay on. I was positive I didn't even have an off button.

But then I went on vacation — a true vacation, work-free. That vacation showed me that I have to put absolutely everything away, turn my phone off and tell everyone they can’t reach me unless there is a real emergency, and even then, to call Dennis. It took me reading two crime novels, one whimsical romance novel and one memoir, baking two batches of cinnamon buns, cooking veggie curry, making chickpea burgers and trying out a new recipe for a salted caramel tarte, and spending 12 hours a day so present with my daughter we merged into one single being.

And then, by the 100th swim in the bluest ocean and the millionth hug from my husband, then and only then did the button begin to move. Slowly. It didn’t go from on to off. It went from on to... Less on. And by the fifth day of vacation, I woke up smiling with that button switched closest to off as I’ve felt in years.

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When we returned home, I was incredibly energized, inspired and grounded; I was calm and grateful and so damn in love with life. All because I truly slowed down and made time for genuine rest with my husband and baby, I was ready to make big, beautiful magic for the world as my very best self.

So now I make more of an effort to rest; meaning, I value it and I prioritize it. It’s still a work in progress, but every day I get a little better (as a result, so does my peace).

I’ve become friends with my hammock again, and my books, and the space between my inhales and exhales as the clouds float across the beautiful blue sky.

For the sake of your dreams and your health needed to accomplish them, let yourself rest.

What are your favorite ways to make time for deep rest? Share your tips with our community in the comments!

X,

Rachel

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