What Happens When You Don’t Rest

I’m back, with another post on rest. (It is my word of the year, after all.)

Screen Shot 2013-04-01 at 9.22.21 PM

I have been talking a lot lately about the effects of not resting, and what it means to not give your body the important rest that it needs in order to accomplish all those big, bold things you want to do in this world. Today, I started thinking a bit more about what happens when you don’t rest your body. Fueled by a great book I’m reading,ย The Balance Within, by Esther M. Sternberg, I compiled a short (happy) list of all that not resting means for you, your body, and your soul.

Here are a few things that happen (reliably), when you don’t rest:

1. You’re Itchy, Cranky, Angry

The hardest part about not resting is the fact that your body reacts. Even though your body isn’t resting, your body knows it needs to, and your mind responds. ย The result? You get itchy, cranky, and — yes — angry. It’s not a pretty sight, and it’s all because you’re not taking the time you need to step out of the game so that you can get back in.

2. You Have No Bandwidth

Turns out that when you don’t say NO, you end up having to say no. Why? Because you can’t physically take on one more thing. So the next time you say yes because you think you need to (but know you shouldn’t), know that your body may actually prevent you from following through. Tough stuff, no?

3. You Have to Say No, Even When You Don’t Want To

In what is the worst extension of the above (You Have No Bandwidth), not resting means that you force yourself to say NO to those things that you really want to say YES to. And I’m not talking about things you should say NO to (one more meeting, one more call, one more “golden opportunity”). I’m talking about those things that you really, honestly, healthily, want to respond with a big positive YES to. Your friend’s wedding. A weekend away. A dinner party. Those things. When you don’t rest, you won’t be able to do the things you want to.

So what about you? How do you comport yourself in our fine world when you don’t get the rest you need?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

12 thoughts on “What Happens When You Don’t Rest

  1. I’d like to dedicate this article to all the other new parents and parents with infants out there.. who are bitter, grouchy, and want, desperately, to seize opportunities and find that ominous “work-life” balance people talk about. For now, I will continue to remain informed and aware that I am yelling at everyone BECAUSE I’m tired. Not because I’m a jerk. There is a nice person somewhere in there… Thanks, Claire! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I’m learning the “rest” lesson this year, I suppose. Besides the “necessities of life” and work responsibilities, we’re in the middle of several unrelated but coinciding health issues in the extended family. There’s little oomph for activities which would have otherwise energized me. Saying no when I don’t want to is difficult, but I don’t want to add my name to the disabled (or even partially disabled) list. Thanks for the The Balance Within recommendation; it’s on my to-read list for the weekend.

    • Yes Velma — a great book. Not a light read, but definitely worth it. A lighter one I liked also was “The Hidden Link Between Adrenaline and Stress”

  3. I like your saying, “Yes,” and, “No,” as ways to prioritize what you want to do most. Saying no just allows us to say yes to the important things. Super reminder, Claire. Thanks.

  4. I’m constantly pounding this into my head Claire. As an overachiever, a recovering people pleaser and someone who generally just likes helping people – this has to be front and center as a reminder. Also, as a husband, friend and volunteer who takes personal relationships seriously, this is most definitely needed. Thanks for writing this, as usual.