“Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.” — Eleanor Brown
We live in an “always on” world. At some point in our lives, we might have thought these similar thoughts:
“I’ve forgotten how to rest.”
“I feel like when I am resting, I should be doing something else, something more productive.”
“I feel like rest is a waste of potentially productive time.”
As human beings, we all have our limits, and regardless of how much we love what we are doing, or how disciplined we are in our work, or in our personal and social lives, we have to respect those limits.
According to science, adults need an average of seven to eight hours a day. Yet, in the US, 35.2% of all adults between ages 18 to 64 report sleeping less than seven hours on average.
This has gone down from 40% back in 2015 (according to a Gallup study), but it is still an incredibly high number!
Statistics also show that lack of sleep causes accidents—that’s why drivers are encouraged to not drive when sleepy: because when you are not well-rested, mistakes are made. Lack of sleep also reduces reaction time by around 6.7%, and as leaders, we know the value of making quick decisions. Lack of sleep lowers our immune system, making us susceptible to flu, common colds, and other ailments (which we absolutely want to avoid in this post-COVID world), and studies show that it causes brain cell death in both animals and humans.
When you refuse to rest, your body will force you to do the job for you.
John Maxwell tells us that leaders should view rest as an investment for the body, mind, and heart. When we rest, we allow our bodies to recover. If you’ve ever gone to the gym, you might have heard that muscle growth does not happen during the workout—it happens during rest. That is the same for us. If we want to grow, as leaders and as humans, we need to give ourselves the proper time to rest and recover.
Resting also allows us to reflect and enrich the mind. We take in a lot of information all day, every day, and it only becomes truly ours when we take time to sort through that information, organize it, and reflect on it. That is when true learning occurs. That is when we gain the wisdom and intuition that helps us become more effective leaders and decision-makers. Plus, it gives us the clarity to look ahead.
Resting also allows us to rekindle our passion for what we do. A tired person cannot rediscover enthusiasm when they do not have the energy for it. Rest rejuvenates our hearts and allows us to stay connected to our purpose.
It takes a lot of discipline and intentionality to find our rhythm in rest. But we need to invest in ourselves in order to continue leading our team.
A burnt-out leader equals burnt-out employees.
“We reproduce what we are, not what we want.” — John Maxwell, 2019
We need to figure out how to be better, not just at resting but also at relaxing.
Mindful leadership requires a relaxed and grounded leader. Everyone has different stress thresholds, and in these stressful times, we need to practice mindfulness and self-care all the more. Meditate. Go out on walks. Read for pleasure. Listen to music that you enjoy. Learn to relax.
Sometimes, the most productive thing we can do is to rest and relax, because when stress levels are reduced, we are able to focus more, we are more energized, and overall, we are just happier at what we do.
Remember, happiness is contagious. Take care of yourself so you can take better care of the people you lead.
Thanks for reading A Brilliant Tribe.