Every Day Doesn’t Have to Be Productive

Learning to be comfortable with rest is vital in today’s world

Photo by Drew Coffman on Unsplash

Some days you just feel “blah.”

You know the ones — you don’t feel particularly inspired or motivated to accomplish what you wanted to. On those days, you don’t have the energy to do much of anything.

But maybe that’s perfectly okay. Every day doesn’t have to be amazing and productive and successful and riveting.

Being alive is a balance of creating, doing, achieving — and also resting. Just simply “being.”

Sometimes I forget that. I get so caught up in this busy world that’s spinning so fast. I see everyone hustling and bustling, trying to accomplish so much, with to-do lists 10 pages long, and I start to subscribe to that lifestyle of “busy is best.” Before I know it, I’m lost in 10-page task lists too, feeling stressed and out of control.

I don’t know how we got so confused. Why did we start thinking “busy” was the best way? How did we get here?

Is Busy Best?

Somewhere along the way, filling our days to the brim and rushing around like maniacs became the norm. But is it good for us?

What’s so wrong with spending a day wrapped up in blankets on the couch, reading or watching t.v.? What’s the problem with having a “sleepy” weekend, or spending a weekend in?

We’re so afraid of being caught in a moment that we’re “not busy” that we actually lie to our friends and loved ones when they call us! We tell them we’re just doing some work or that we just got home, when we’re really just laying on the couch having some “down” time.

But why?

When did we lose the right to rest? When did we lose the right to be alone? To say “no” to plans and requests and engagements when we’d rather stay home?

Honesty is Lost

With it, we’ve also lost the ability to be honest with each other. We’ve lost the right to just tell the truth about what we’re doing, or why we’re not attending some function when we’re asked.

I know I’m not the only one who’s lied to someone that they thought would judge them for taking a nap or watching t.v. That’s what we do now! It’s become normal to pretend that we’re busy or that we’re working, when we’re really just binge-watching Netflix while we’re home alone and the house is quiet.

We’ve gotten to the point where we find it easier to lie about these things than to tell the truth.

I find this both sad and deeply troubling.

There’s so much guilt that accompanies rest these days. Our 24/7, on-the-go, fast-paced culture is so obsessed with productivity and achievement that those who don’t keep up with the insane “norm” are shamed and called lazy and weak.

The “Norm”

But let’s face it: this is not normal.

Humans are not robots. We’re not meant to just go and go and go and go. We’re not meant to be constantly busy. Our bodies need rest to function properly, and so do our minds and souls.

There’s a lot of talk out there currently about productivity and achievement and success and “getting more done” (and I definitely jump on that bandwagon most days) — but we need to ensure that rest isn’t overlooked along the path to greatness.

The way I see it, rest shouldn’t be a secret. People shouldn’t feel they have to “cover up” their unproductive moments or days, like they’re hiding some dark and awful thing.

And yet, I am participating in this madness when I lie about it, cover it up, or substitute the truth for what I think will be a “more favourable” response in the eyes of another.

Be the Change

As in most cases, I think the only way to change this is to lead by example, which means that if I want rest to become an accepted part of our culture, or even supported, then I need to accept it and stand by it.

I can do this by allowing myself to have those “sleepy” days when I need to. If all I want to do sometimes is curl up and read, have a nap, or watch something on t.v., that’s okay. If I want to stay in, have a quiet day, and not answer messages, that’s allowed too.

What’s not allowed anymore is the lying part. It’s not allowed because it’s adding to the problem. It’s showing the world that what I’m doing is not okay, and needs to be covered up. It indicates that I’m ashamed of this behaviour, when the reality of it is that I actually think it’s very important to give yourself all the quiet “down” time you need.

I’m not encouraging you to become a hermit or spend your whole life glued to a t.v. screen or laying on a couch; I’m just saying that it’s okay to give yourself a completely unproductive day every so often.

We need them.

Writer & dreamer with a passion for personal growth, travel and self-discovery. I write about my journey through life and its many adventures and lessons.

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